Steph's Place

A Review Of Woman's Place UK (WPUK) and the Labour Party

A call to the Labour Party to wake up to the facts.

Woman’s Place UK (WPUK) launched in September of 2017 with the sole purpose of influencing the Gender Reform Act (GRA) consultation. They claim they did not expect to be in existence for more than a few months – the three co-founders also state they are members of the Labour Party.

The first thing that surprised me when I started digging into Woman’s Place UK was how little had been written about them. For they certainly have, in my view, been a very significant force in the TERF/TRANS verbal war.

WPUK claim they want to an open debate about a reformed GRA and one of the very first things they say on their web site is “We are against all forms of discrimination”. The proof in the pudding - is in the eating.

While not affiliated to the Labour Party they claim to have a mainly socialist ideology. So first let’s define what a socialist is, and I quote here, for Women’s Places UK are exceedingly careful in the words that they write too. 

So, I typed into Google “What is a socialist” and Wikimedia immediately gave me what I was expecting, and I quote: 

Socialism is a political, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management of enterprises. It includes the political theories and movements associated with such systems”.

Two phrases hit home to me. Firstly “political, social, and economic philosophy” and secondly “characterised by social ownership”….in other words – we mutually share.

Sharing is a crucial pillar of the Labour Party.  Sharing is not just about public ownership of services such as the electricity and railway companies; it is also about sharing values of equality and fairness.

And here, of course, the very nature of Woman’s Place UK policies is the exact opposite of socialism, for they openly seek to exclude trans women. This stance neither promotes equality or fairness.

Woman’s Place UK has slowly but surely tried to infiltrate the Labour Party by holding meetings close to official Labour Party events. They also appear to be by encouraging WPUK members who recently joined the Labour Party to raise gender-related motions at Constituency Labour Party meetings. It would be fascinating to find out how long on average, WPUK rank and file members have been Labour Party members before promoting gender-related motions. I would also be interested to know how many socialist campaigns WPUK members have worked on within the Labour Party.   

The Woman’s Place UK website is (to say the least) exceedingly comprehensive. At the time of writing, there were fifty-two category’s listed on the right side of the About Us page and a further thirty-four subjects on the left of the website. 

When exploring the various pages, almost invariably all contained a plethora of words. It leaves the average person, I suspect, with the view of why to say something in a thousand words when it can be done in fifty? 

Many of the pages that I visited was very carefully written, to avoid the direct accusation of transphobia - but to a sensitive and switched on a trans woman like me, some were upsetting. Woman's Place says they accept trans women, but I would not feel safe in their company.

A theme that I find in many gender-critical websites is the suggestion that the number of trans people are low and potentially dangerous to cis women. They often also allege that transitioning can be due to confusion or mistake, and the number of trans people de-transitioning is high. 

I was unable to find any reference in the WPUK website reflecting the World Health Organisation's declaration that gender dysphoria is not a mental health condition. 

Having been involved in the trans community for half a century, I do not recognise much of what they say about trans women.

Yes, I have certainly meet trans folk depressed. Who would not be, given the stress society and in particular the radical feminists put trans women under because of non-acceptance?   

Not to forget the years of wait to be seen by NHS Gender Identity Clinics (GIC’s). Currently, the wait in the south-west is nearly four years for the first appraisal. A full transition is likely to take the best part of a decade.  I know of a trans guy (FTM) who has attempted to take his life multiple times because of the waiting times and failures at his GIC to activate promised surgery. 

I have lost a trans friend to suicide because the pressures were so high, but I have never witnessed a trans person de-transitioning. This is not surprising because the trans charity Mermaids report that just 1% of trans folk de-transition so why Women's Place UK make reference to it, would I suggest, question their validity.  The Mermaids stats are also backed up by Stonewall who between 2016 and 2017 interviewed 3398 folks who had transitioned with less than 1% saying they regretted transitioning.  

Giving up on exploring the Woman’s Place UK website for socialist values (frankly, I was exhausted) I typed into Google the search phrase “Woman’s Place UK Socialist Labour”. With a website so huge I expected a myriad of results all promoting a socialist cause.  

But no – this was not the case. 

When I searched, there were just nine positive results before seeing a reference to the socialist website. Of these nine results, many were responses to the Labour Party or their officers. I could find nothing about any socialist policies or values.

This reinforced my opinion that Woman’s Place UK is not particularly socialist but are using the Labour Party as a vehicle to spread their message.

Woman’s Place UK state their makeup consists of union members, NHS staff and academia. Judging from the content of their website, I would suggest they have that somewhat out or order. However, I did find that two of the three co-founders of Woman’s Place UK do indeed have union connections. The links to academia and in particular to London universities, however, appear much more substantial. 

The co-founders of Woman’s Place UK Judith Green, Ruth Serwotka and Kiri Tunks not only state that they are Labour Party members but say this: “We are life-long campaigners for equality and justice”.

Trans folk are one of the most marginalised and victimised sections of UK society and seek precisely what you say you campaign for… “equality and justice”. When do you intend to fight for us?

For at the moment I see the exact opposite!

As a message to WPUK/Labour members, I will say just this.

I do believe it is reasonable that a history of gender dysphoria should be identifiable before issuing a GRC. I agree that people should not be allowed to Self-id to a new gender at a whim. I agree with your aims to stop violence against women. I am aware of the speeches at your WPUK meetings given by your highly controversial binary thinking trans woman and totally distance myself with her message. Trans women are women and the least I will accept is trans women are trans women. To say trans women are men - is f*in RUDE and WPUK should distance themselves from this rhetoric - but from what I can see, they do not. 

In this regard, I suspect 99% of other trans women would agree with me.  

Sadly, in the current hysteria of the debate, it is the bonafide trans women such as myself who are becoming “collateral damage” of the TERF/TRANS war. If you take the time to read my story on this website, you may begin to understand the hurt and anger that radical feminism inflict.  

Woman’s Place UK proudly show a banner on their website on which it states, “Sex not Gender”. And I believe this is their biggest problem.

To me Sex not Gender translates to Cis not Trans - personally I find this transphobic, but I am sure WPUK will say not. 

I am bored with the binary biological sex argument. 

People think with their brain, not their genitals - though it could be argued that the binary thinkers talk out of a body part located not so far away from their genitalia. Moreover both sex and gender are spectrums. A "pure" woman or man do not exist. 

Trans folk has been with us since civilisation began. Non-binary thinkers like me see trans people as part of life’s natural diversity or women who are biologically disabled.

Binary thinkers often consider trans folk as abnormal with a mental disability - we are not. But if we accepted their argument should society, tolerate anyone who campaigns against a person with a disability?  

Blind people have a disability. Would anyone campaign against them for fear that their guide dog may bite them, or that they may get hit with a white cane while out walking?  And if people campaigned against blind people – what would society think of them?

Sex, in my opinion, is a secondary characteristic, more critical than shoe size for sure but not as important than the brain. At conception, all human foetuses have a female template. Even the world’s strongest man started life as female - from there on it is down to nature, diversity, the mother’s hormones, and luck. 

Gender, on the other hand, is in our brain and without a brain, a human being fails to operate. 

But what particularly annoys me about any group who deem to influence the reform of the Gender Recognition Act is that they fail to come up with proposals and suggestions to end the TERF war. Yes, WPUK they say they want a discussion but the fact that they are infiltrating the Labour Party and making submissions to government indeed suggests they pick and choose who and how they have conversations with.

I am far from being convinced that any point regarding a reformed GRA mooted by Woman’s Place UK is valid or not already protected in law by way of the Equality Act. I maintain the view that the GRA is about trans women like me …not cis women. Self-identification, an internal policy within the Labour Party for their membership is clearly rejected by Judith Green, Ruth Serwotka and Kiri Tunks in relationship to the reformed GRA.

On the WPUK website Judith Green, Ruth Serwotka and Kiri Tunks are defiant to the Labour Party saying this - “Defend us or expel us

It is not my choice ladies - but be sure if it were my choice, you would be gone in a second.  

But then again, I would say that, wouldn’t I? 

I am a trans rights activist and in this toxic atmosphere of “us” and “them” to knock out one’s opponent is par for the course. 

It should not be, but I am hurt and feel strongly that trans lives should be made easier, not harder. This TERF trans war has to end sometime. As with the Iraq war what is happening is not right. Hate solves nothing, and in my end of month June 2020 blog, I do make suggestions. 

But as the war of words currently continues, can I leave you with this thought?

I am writing this editorial on the 28th of June 2020.  A few days ago, Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet for what many would consider a relatively minor issue. This has resulted in some people in the Labour party (mainly on the left) being very unhappy.

Keir Starmer’s view was that the Labour Party needed to rebuild trust with the Jewish community, and this may well be valid. I am not Jewish and have no in-depth knowledge of this problem.

But what about the trans community? 

The Woman’s Place website in their About Us page refers to single-sex spaces, including toilets. 

Woman’s Place UK has made no secret that they see the ladies loo as a cis woman’s space only. They campaign against trans women but not the MALE CLEANERS who may clean the loo's. How do women know the cleaners are not predatory? How do you know the sign "Male Cleaner in Attendance" is genuine? This simple fact proves to me at least, that WPUK is against trans women and not men. How feminist is that? 

And I believe that going to the Ladies is a bona fide trans woman's right. I also think this against my human rights as someone who looks and identifies as a woman. Moreover, the right for trans women to use the Ladies loo is entrenched in law by way of the Equality Act.  

So, if Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked from the shadow cabinet for something many people consider relatively minor, why has the defiant Judith Green, Ruth Serwotka and Kiri Tunks not been expelled from the Labour party for their views?

I would also ask the Labour Party to look again at Woman’s Place UK.

The exclusion of people based on gender or/and sex without a valid reason is discriminatory.  The use of the Labour Party to traffic potentially transphobic messages causes I suspect most Labour members and certainly LGBT Labour members grave concern. An investigation of WPUK members actions within the Labour Party is now well overdue.

NOTE: I always offer the option of the right of reply. The ball is in the court of WPUK to come back to me regarding the content of this article. Would WPUK give me the same right to place my thoughts on their website - I doubt it.

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