Labour Women Voices is an informal safe network for women in the Labour Party to exchange thoughts and ideas about politics, sex and gender. We respect the right of everyone, regardless of gender or other self-identification, to live their lives without fear or discrimination, provided only that there is no harm to others. To that end we insist that biological women and girls have safe spaces in personally vulnerable at-risk situations, as discussed here https://labourwomenvoices.uk/
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We focus here on SAFEGUARDING and RISK.
The safety and well-being of everyone, especially children and vulnerable others, is critically important; but so too is the reputation of the Labour Party, which is not well-served by current relaxed approaches to e.g. trans awareness training and counselling.
LWV members agree strongly that genuine trans people have every right to lead their lives safely and comfortably like anyone else. We also recognise that some trans men and women are particularly vulnerable and require full, bespoke support.
Nonetheless, some rhetoric and ‘diversity training’ in respect of trans people may be harmful.
Dr Hilary Cass’s 2022 Interim Report on the ‘treatment’ by the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) of potentially trans children shows that uncritical acceptance of self-ID will help some, but is deeply damaging to others.
Indeed, there is clear evidence of social media contagion. As Hannah Barnes’ statistics demonstrate (Time to Think, Swift Press, 2023) the huge increase over the past decade in numbers of post-pubertal girls wanting to transition is otherwise difficult to explain.
It is concerning in this context that several organisations which lobby for trans rights are also involved directly in working with these children, offering counselling, ‘support’ and contacts.
Interest / lobby groups providing such commercial services (business contracts with private, public and not-for-profit organisations, borough councils, schools, universities ….) include Gender Identity Research & Education Society (GIRES), Gendered Intelligence, Just Like Us and Mermaids.
These organisations provide trans or gay counsellors – sometimes 1 to 1 – for children and young people; but not all are qualified doctors or psychologists able to unravel the complex social and psychological influences and conditions shaping some young people’s gay or trans identities. These counsellors simply ‘affirm’ these increasing numbers of young people in their current beliefs.
Safeguarding of children
Public services including many run by Labour authorities are paying trans lobby organisations to ‘support’ young people believing they are trans. The safeguarding aspects of consistent ‘trans affirmation’ (let alone the issues of protection) are not however always compatible with these lobbyists’ practice.
Currently public funds promote, and even purchase, possibly dubious ‘services’. No named authority at any level appears to be conducting adequate checks on some providers before they are engaged to work with children.
Risks to Labour’s reputation
We already know, e.g., that Mermaids’ safeguarding is under investigation by the Charity Commission; and Hannah Barnes’ book illustrates the issues which, as The Guardian reports, arose for GIDS via entanglement with that and other lobbying interests.
The Labour Party must reject accusations that significant concerns about children believing themselves trans are ‘homophobic’ – the homophobia is said to be fear that the child is ‘gay’, whilst children being ‘trans’ is acceptable. Yet research shows many more people are gay in adulthood than trans.
Failure to acknowledge these facts may result in Labour suffering a loss of, and damage to, reputation such as arose from the naïve engagement by some Labour politicians in the activities of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) in the 1970s – 80s.
Diligent safeguarding must be fundamental and take primacy over any other Labour policy considerations.
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Women, men, gender, sex and trans issues