A response to the Labour Party's LGBT+ advisory post
Jeremy Corbyn MP
House of Commons
7 March 2018 A Meeting?
You may recall that you mentioned a willingness to meet with me when you were on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday the 28th of January 2018. I have attempted to meet with the Shadow Minister for Equalities thus far to no avail. The matter is, of course about proposed changes to the legal definition of Trans. You will be aware how I was publicly vilified when I was Leader of Lambeth Council because I was an ‘Out Black Lesbian’, a feminist and a socialist.
You may not be aware that I was also the Founding Chair of the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners now renamed Professionals, and I make this point to emphasise that I have specific knowledge of equality law dating back to the 1965 Race Relations Act and up to the Equality Act 2010 (EQA).
You know that I have expressed concern about proposals made by the Conservative Government to amend the EQA in such a a way that will damage the safety of women. I support the right of people to transition from one gender to another but the proposals have thus far not incorporated the legitimate concerns of significant numbers of women including Labour Party members. I and many others have been subjected to distortions including the editing of my words to make it appear that I am threatening Trans women, when in fact I was commenting on the violence inflicted on Maria Mac at Speakers Corner in September last year.
I resent the term TERF as I do the word ‘nigger’ being applied to me. It is not ‘transphobic’ to insist that the concerns of those of us biologically women being considered when and if changes to law are proposed. It should be consistent with freedom of thought and freedom of expression for those of us who are lesbian feminists to give our analysis and response to proposed changes which will impact upon us. For example, freedom of assembly amongst lesbians who do not wish to socialise with Trans women. And if the legal provisions of women only spaces are removed might this also be applied to spaces in which Black people or Irish people can socialise as a group? These were, I recall hard won provisions of equality laws dating back to the 1960’s and 70’s.
My perception is and has been that most members of Parliament do not know what our Equality laws say and how they apply, and until the change of Government which coincided by my partner Caroline Jones being diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2010 I had provided training and consultancy on equality laws to a wide range of Public Authorities including the Home and Cabinet Offices. I make this point to illustrate that I have professional expertise in these matters not mere personal interests as a Black lesbian, and socialist.
Finally, I wish to remind you that you stated publicly that you would meet with me, and I now request that you honour that undertaking.