Lisa Nandy speaking at a hustings event for Labour Leader on February 16, 2020 in London, England. (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
British opposition party leader hopeful Lisa Nandy said she was given a “pause for thought” while signing a pledge card from the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights.
The 12-point pledge by the independent campaign group aims to challenge and castigate anti-trans rhetoric in the party. It has been backed by Rebecca Long-Bailey and Nandy, but not Kier Starmer.
The pledge states that “there is no material conflict between trans rights and women’s rights” and calls for supporters of “trans-exclusionist hate groups” to be expelled from Labour.
Trans and non-binary Labour members have come together to launch the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights; we are fighting for trans rights and liberation through the Labour Party. We urge all trans Labour members and allies to sign our pledges here:https://t.co/4zl8TsFjkZ pic.twitter.com/LOinMWgr8a
— Labour Campaign for Trans Rights (@Labour_Trans) February 10, 2020
Moreover, the pledge mentions Woman’s Place UK, a group that campaigns for spaces and services to be reserved for cis women only, excluding trans women. The lobby group describes WPUK as one such “hate group”.
What did Lisa Nandy say?
Speaking on Sky News‘ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Nandy explained that that pledge point have “was the part of the pledge that gave me pause for thought about whether to sign it.
“I decided to sign it in the end because I think that the sentiment of the pledge about protecting trans rights and about accepting that trans men are men and trans women are women is really important, especially at the moment with the level of discrimination that people face.”
She continued: “I don’t think that proscribing organisations is actually the right way to deal with disciplinary issues in the Labour party.
“I think that the question for us is always about individual behaviour and it’s right to recognise that there are women who have fought for generations in order to create safe spaces for women who want to have a proper debate about how we best protect that in an era where we’ve recognised that trans men are men, trans women are women.
We’ve got to do far more to protect trans women from harm as well.
“I want to see us have an open debate, I don’t want to see us close down debate and I don’t want anybody who’s listening to this to think that I do.”
Politicians should not ‘dictate to people who they are’, says Labour leadership contender.
Nandy said: “I think that pledge cards themselves have become a real problem in British politics.
“I think, with hindsight, if we could have all signed a pledge card at the beginning to say that we wouldn’t sign pledge cards, we’d probably be in a much better place because one of the ways that pledge cards have been used is to pit people against one another.”
“We’ve seen it happen with Brexit in recent years, we’ve seen it happen with the Israel-Palestine debate within the Labour party in recent months and, actually, it surely must be possible for us to have a better level of debate than this.”
When quizzed whether she would be happy for trans women to stand on all-women shortlists, the Wigan member of Parliament replied: “Yeah.
“I think that you have to walk the walk in the Labour party and that means that we have to do two things – one is that we have to accept that people are who they say they are.
I’ve never believed that politicians or even me as an individual should interfere or dictate to people who they are.
Lisa Nandy vows ro “redouble her efforts” in standing to trans rights.
At the PinkNews LGBT+ Labour hustings Thursday, Nandy doubled down on her unwavering support for trans rights amid backlash from certain groups and fellow lawmakers.
Hecklers nestled themselves into the Manchester venue and jeered the Labour leader hopefuls for their advocacy of trans rights.
Nandy said: “I’ve had a bit of a taste of this over the past week.
“I signed a pledge along with Becky about standing up for trans rights because I believe trans men are men and trans women are women and we should say that loud and clear as a party.
“I believe trans men are men and trans women are women.
“And the amount of hate and anger that’s been directed my way in the last week, it’s given me a very, very small taste of what people in the trans community have to face on a daily basis.
“So I will redouble my efforts to stand up for trans rights.”