Liberal Democrats adopt definition of Transphobia

The Lib Dems have always believed trans right are human rights. Over the last year it has become clear that the Party needed to explain what that means in practice. 

We know that some parts of the media have been actively trying to smear the Trans community and have promoted scare stories designed to frighten people into rolling back trans rights in general and preventing the reform of the Gender Recognition Act in particular. We want to support members who want to call out transphobic behaviour, and challenge it both in and outside the party. 

It was time for the Party to make its position clear. 

Our Party President, Mark Pack asked the Disciplinary Sub Group to work on this definition. It has taken us some months and many different drafts to produce a definition that we believe will give members an effective way of answering the question ‘What do the Lib Dems believe is transphobic behaviour?’

We have consulted with trans members of the Party, with LGBT+ and with other interested parties. Our colleagues on the DSG have put in suggestions and concerns. We thank them all for their extremely helpful input. We have also drawn on the work done by organisations such as Stonewall and TransActual UK. 

This document was then submitted to the Steering Group of the Federal Board, who adopted the definition of Transphobia unanimously. 

We hope this definition will help guide members who want to support the trans community and call out transphobic behaviour. It will also be key to supporting the Party’s disciplinary processes. It is an important step towards ensuring that in 2020 the Liberal Democrats continue to demonstrate their commitment to Liberal values, as eloquently described in the opening sentence to the preamble to the Party’s constitution.

“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.” 

Definition of Transphobia 

“‘Transphobia’ is the fear or dislike of someone based on the fact they are trans. Transphobia, whether through words or action, may be targeted at people who are, or who are perceived to be, trans or trans allies.

‘Trans’ is an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a variety of terms. Trans people are not required to have undergone any medical or social transition to be considered trans. Other examples are set out in the Stonewall Glossary.

Transphobic behaviour may include (i) attempting directly or through advocacy to remove trans people’s rights, (ii) misrepresenting trans people, (iii) abuse of trans people, and (iv) systematically excluding trans people from discussions about issues that directly affect them.”

Genuine errors or misunderstandings about a trans person’s gender identity, or about the nature or effect of a policy or practice, do happen, and genuine errors or misunderstandings should not be considered intentionally transphobic.  Some people may have had little or no experience or engagement with issues affecting trans people. Genuine errors and misunderstandings can still have potentially harmful effects, but the action taken to address them should take into account the lack of intention. Where accidental offence or harm has been caused the most appropriate course of action will generally be an apology, retraction or similar.

However, where an individual repeatedly does things which might be viewed as transphobic, it is unlikely this is in genuine error. This is especially true if they have been challenged by others, and they have been pointed to resources to help them learn about trans rights and transphobia. Indeed, disingenuous feigned ignorance of trans issues is a common tactic of committed opponents of trans rights. A history of transphobic actions or behaviours should be taken into account when considering whether someone is being intentionally transphobic. 

Appendix of Examples

To help members understand how transphobia manifests, here are a few common examples of transphobic actions which you may come across both inside and outside the Party. This list is not exhaustive and behaviours which constitute transphobia may change over time. Members may seek further guidance on patterns of transphobic behaviour from LGBT+ Liberal Democrats.

Denying trans people’s gender identity or refusing to accept it

For example:

“deadnaming” – calling someone by their birth name after they have changed their name. In the early phases of transition, or if someone is not aware of the transition or is not well informed about transition, accidental mistakes may be made as people get used to new names. Doing it deliberately, persistently and/or maliciously is a means of humiliation and degradation.

“misgendering” – referring to someone using a word, especially a pronoun or a form of address, which does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify. As with deadnaming, accidental mistakes may be made as people get used to new pronouns or forms of address but doing it deliberately, persistently and/or maliciously is a means of humiliation and degradation.

Mockery or dismissal of new names and pronouns and the identity they reflect. This often takes the form of inappropriate comparisons (‘people will be defining themselves as Muppets and Wombles next’), suggesting trans people do not mean what they say (for example by describing them as ‘confused’ or ‘just trying to be controversial’), or suggesting trans identities are a fad, through comments such as ‘I’m too old to understand all this’.

Using phrases or language to describe trans people which are designed to suggest that trans people are a separate category of person from the gender they identify as or that their gender identity is not valid. Current examples include referring to a trans woman or non-binary person as a “biological man” or a trans man or non-binary person as a “biological woman”, which eradicates the trans person’s gender identity in favour of their biology at birth.

Misrepresenting and excluding trans people

For example:

  • Accusing trans people, as a group, of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single trans person or even non-trans people.
  • Positioning trans people as a threat to individual rights or safety or as a threat to society as a whole, for example by equating trans people with paedophiles, rapists, sex offenders or grooming gangs.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about trans people or their cisgender allies. This includes spreading the idea of a “trans conspiracy” which asserts undue influence over media or government or claiming that cisgender allies support trans rights initiatives out of fear or bribery rather than a genuine belief that trans rights are human rights.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of trans people behaviours that are not expected or demanded of any other groups in society – for example criticising both trans women who do not conform to female stereotypes for not being feminine enough and trans women who do conform for perpetuating sexism.

Knowingly promoting policies and practices that actively discriminate against trans people 

For example:

  • Requiring trans people to be separate from society, using segregated facilities, or denying them access to facilities which would be required in order for them to fully participate in public life.
  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or physical or mental harming of trans people because of their gender identity.
  • Knowingly promoting the idea that gender dysphoria is a form of, or is caused by, mental illness, which directly contradicts NHS guidance (available here/).
  • Advocating the withdrawal or defunding of access to transition-related medical treatment for trans people or advocating or facilitating any kind of therapy that tries to change a person’s gender identity.

We encourage members who are interested in learning more to engage with LGBT+ Liberal Democrats and specialist organisations such as Stonewall. A list of organisations and charities which support trans people and their allies and champion trans rights is available here

 

 

 

* Candy Piercy, Sheila Ritchie and Alice Thomas are writing on behalf of the Disciplinary Sub Group of the Federal Board.

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56 Comments

  • I’m really encouraged to see the party holding firm to liberal views in the face of the concerted campaign by transphobes to invent some complicated nuanced debate where one frankly doesn’t really exist (at least, not one based in any evidence). The trans community is under sustained attack right now, and deserves our support.

    I hope this definition will be taken up and consistently applied within the party now.

  • I’m so glad that the definition of transphobia was adopted. You’re quite right to say that it was time that the party made its position clear, and it did. Trans rights are human rights!

  • Fraser Graham 19th Sep '20 - 11:11am

    It’s great to see the party taking such a strong stance on trans rights and making it clear that transphobia has no place in our party. I only hope that those running the disciplinary process will follow it through.

  • Cass MACDONALD 19th Sep '20 - 11:12am

    This is an incredibly helpful and broad definition. It offers protection to victims of continued harassment – but with the descriptions of what constitutes transphobic actions and behaviour may actually protect some people from malicious accusations of bigotry. Speaking as someone who has had to deal with abuse online simply for the fact they are non-binary, this is a victory. I’d like to thank the authors for this excellent article and the party for taking its time to review this and come up with the statement and definition.

  • I am so, SO glad the party has done this. Thank you <3

  • While I will follow the advice of our trans friends and listen to any criticism from the LGBT+ community when considering this, it seems to me an excellent piece of work that will benefit both the Liberal Democrats and wider politics. Thanks to all involved.

  • Alexandrine Kantor 19th Sep '20 - 11:17am

    Brilliant initiative and great article. It was about time we wrote our position in such a clear way.
    As Liberals, we value and respect people’s rights. It’s our duty to protect them. Especially if some use their money, power and influence to stigmatise vulnerable communities that have no equal means to defend themselves.

    This article makes me proud to be a Liberal Democrats.

    Thank you.

  • Morgan Griffith-Davi 19th Sep '20 - 11:30am

    I’m very glad to see the party has upheld our liberal values and adopted this definition. Its sadly needed to set out that liberal values embrace trans rights. Its reasonable the definition recognises genuine misunderstandings and mistakes can exist but the examples will hopefully be very useful, to show people what just isnt acceptable and why, particularly when repeated transphobic behaviour is shown.

  • Charley Hasted 19th Sep '20 - 11:34am

    Fantastic to see this has been adopted and I’m really proud to to have been involved in the feedback process to allow for a really rigorous document that can hopefully help people feel even more welcome in the party and provide clarity to people involved with disciplinary issues 🙂

  • Jennie Kermode 19th Sep '20 - 11:50am

    I’m really glad to see the Liberal Democrats do this and I hope it will encourage other parties to follow suit. This is a very good definition which reflects a real understanding of the issues. Well done!

  • Rebecca Bell 19th Sep '20 - 12:27pm

    So proud of our party for taking this clear stand of support for trans right. This is also a helpful tool in setting out what transphobia is. Thank you to those involved.

  • This is a brilliant development spearheaded by three inspirational women. Really encouraged to see this, particularly that it was passed unanimously by the Board. Immense thanks to all involved.

  • This is so clear – well done to everyone who was involved. I’m proud to see so many supportive comments.

  • Jenny Wilson 19th Sep '20 - 1:43pm

    I’m so pleased the party has taken a strong and comprehensive stand on this. Thank you for all your hard work!

  • Excellent and timely work.

  • Stephen Harte 19th Sep '20 - 2:07pm

    I hope other parties can do likewise so that transgender and non-binary people and their families, friends and allies don’t have to choose between parties based on who will accord them basic dignity.

  • I’m very glad to see the results of this work. Some members unfortunately seem to think that transphobia is acceptable in a way that racism, antisemitism or homophobia clearly isn’t. This very helpful definition and examples should hopefully draw a line under this.

  • Well done everyone. Should go a long way towards nailing down various problems.

  • Neil Fawcett 19th Sep '20 - 8:56pm

    Very glad to see this.

  • Peter Watson 19th Sep '20 - 9:57pm

    “it has become clear that the Party needed to explain what that means in practice … it has taken us some months and many different drafts to produce a definition”
    I think that pretty much sums up a problem the party has in a number of areas! 😉

  • Well done for being supportive of trans people. This is a good, well thought-out text.

  • This is excellent news. I hope it can be followed up with a clear statement that support for/involvement with organisations like Transgender Trend, Womans Place Uk and the LGB Alliance isn’t something that can be consistent with Lib Dem membership.

  • Jessica Brady 20th Sep '20 - 3:35am

    You are putting treatment at risk by saying it’s wrong to refer to mental illness. How do you propose it will be legal for the NHS to treat non illnesses?

  • Humphrey Hawksley 20th Sep '20 - 10:17am

    I read this detailed post alongside the Sunday media coverage of the attacks on J. K Rowling with the publication of her new Robert Galbraith novel. They include the burning of her books and bombarding Goodreads and other sites with negative reviews by people who have not even read the book. There was a similar campaign against Salman Rushdie by those who has not read Satanic Verses, albeit more dangerous because it involved Islamic extremism. Protecting the rights of minorities is embedded in Liberal Democrat culture. But the Party needs to call out and distance itself from those who abuse and advocate intolerance against others in the name of a victimized minority.

  • @Jessica Brady

    I’m not sure what your question is. Such conditions are still recognised medically. So for example after the revisions in ICD11 now under ‘Conditions related to sexual health’

  • Jessica: As the NHS page linked in the original post says, gender dysphoria isn’t a mental illness but can lead to other mental illnesses (e.g. depression) when left untreated. Given that it is the current position of the NHS that it’s not a mental illness and yet they do offer treatment for trans people (albeit with horrendous waiting lists), I’m not sure there is a problem as you describe?

  • Denis Mollison 20th Sep '20 - 12:30pm

    As an explanation of problems trans and non-binary people face, ranging from errors through ignorance to completely unacceptable behaviour, this is broadly welcome. But adopting a text of over 900 words as a definition is problematic.

    For example, if we take literally that “Using phrases or language to describe trans people which are designed to suggest that trans people are a separate category of person” is transphobic, we are not even allowed to say that someone is trans. I don’t suppose that’s the intention, but it shows the problem with trying to extend a code into more and more words to cover every eventuality.

  • Sarah Brown 20th Sep '20 - 1:00pm

    Jessica: The NHS offers medical support for things that aren’t illnesses all the time. Pregnancy is the most obvious one!

  • Denis: You may want to read the section you quote from again. You stopped quoting before the end of the sentence, in a place which I agree would make the sentence problematic. Happily, the full sentence is: “Using phrases or language to describe trans people which are designed to suggest that trans people are a separate category of person *from the gender they identify as* or that their gender identity is not valid.”

    I think it’s clear that describing someone as trans does not necessarily “suggest that [they] are a separate category of person from the gender they identify as”, or “suggest that… their gender identity is not valid”, so should be fine.

  • Jane Pickard 21st Sep '20 - 8:04am

    I welcome this to clarify our own understanding and ensure it is represented clearly. However I am caught on one aspect which is barely mentioned. The article refers to the NHS website. I note the NHS Guidance on children and gender dysphoria allows for a significant difference in approach as adolescents are in a overall state of identity transition.
    If we are in this debate we need to address the issue around children as this is where much, though not all of the media controversy lies. As a therapist with adolescents I am aware of the difficulty and pressure my peers are under from external groups on both sides of the debate, indeed this is often represented in that work within a family . The counselling profession and young people and their families need Psychological space to be curious and open minded about a young persons experience, and resources to have real referral options if necessary. There remains only 3 specialist nhs gender centres for children in the UK.
    As a profession this is an area of great discussion, learning and knowledge. I wonder if the BACP has had input. It may serve us well to not ignore children in this but have informed input and support on this statement from a respected nationwide counselling body. We may also find that it gives us greater authority to lead on this issue and bring others with us.

  • Denis Mollison 21st Sep '20 - 8:32am

    @Andy – I don’t see how that makes any difference to my point. If you describe someone as “trans” you are “putting them in a separate category from the gender they identify as”. There must be a way of fully protecting everyone’s right to be themself without shutting down free speech. Looking further in the same paragraph, would I be allowed to mention that the trans man who gave birth was able to do so because of their biologically female parts? Or to discuss the current legal case, in which the argument is whether they should be described as father or mother of the child? In the unprejudiced world we aim for, could we not recognise that there is something different there, they are to an extent both father and mother of the child, and celebrate or at least accept it?

    I repeat my point, that trying to extend a dictionary definition to over 900 words is a mistake. The party adopted another other over-long definition recently, from which at least one paragraph of the present one is plagiarized. It’s a bad habit (and I don’t just mean the plagiarization).

  • Matt (Bristol) 21st Sep '20 - 10:51am

    So, in practical terms, is the upshot of this definition that not being in favour of the party policy on reform/replacement of the GRA is in itself transphobic behaviour, because being against reform of the GRA is considered to be part of a rollback of rights?

  • Is there a widespread problem of people alleging trans conspiracy theories? I’m not aware of this.

    If not why does the statement say:

    “This includes spreading the idea of a “trans conspiracy” which asserts undue influence over media or government”?

    This does appear to borrow heavily from policies on anti-semitism but I feel the policy needs to be more tailored to the issue.

  • Tony Greaves 21st Sep '20 - 5:23pm

    I am not sure if this is intended as a statement of party policy or as a definition to be used in the case of disciplinary complaints (a very bad habit of which the party is having far too many in all kinds of areas). If it is the former it must be subject to debate at a conference or other policy-making forum of the party. If it is the latter it is far, far too long and will lead to serious bother.

    Cut this out and stick it on the wall.

  • David Evans 21st Sep '20 - 7:13pm

    I must admit, I agree quite strongly with Denis here. As a definition it is too long, but also incredibly vague as well. It tells us what transphobia is – clear and good. It then tells us it will also be key to supporting the Party’s disciplinary processes – clear. It tells us trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a variety of terms – Not really helpful unless you have a full list And it tells us that Trans people are not required to have undergone any medical or social transition to be considered trans – but what does a person have to do to be considered trans, How do we tell – That it doesn’t say.

    It also says Transphobic behaviour may include (i) attempting directly or through advocacy to remove trans people’s rights – Yes, but it doesn’t tell us what those rights are. Are they the normal legal rights as set out in law, or does it include more? Except, of course in the introductory sentence where it says “The Lib Dems have always believed trans right(s) are human rights” so presumably we must all have these rights, trans or not.

    Finally it mentions ‘Applying double standards by requiring of trans people behaviours that are not expected or demanded of any other groups in society’, but that is only one side of the issue, equally should we not state that ‘we should require of trans people behaviours that are expected or demanded of all other groups in society.’ Otherwise it just looks like a wish list for Trans people, which as Denis points out is wrong because “Using phrases or language to describe trans people which are designed to suggest that trans people are a separate category of person” is wrong.

    It really would have been better to have given a lot more thought to including a wider group of Lib Dems and not just with trans members of the Party, with LGBT+ and with other parties [we thought would be] interested. Otherwise you end up with what we have here an agglomoration of points with more holes than a Swiss Cheese.

    All in all, I think it ends up like the curates egg, good in parts, but a lot of it sounds like a list of nice things we wish wouldn’t happen, like mockery or dismissal, which I believe Lib Dems should apply to everyone. It really could have been so much better , for the party, the country and most importantly for our Trans members and friends.

  • Alice Thomas 22nd Sep '20 - 5:47pm

    I appreciate it may not be clear when read in this format, so just to confirm, the definition is the part in quotation marks – 144 words long. The rest of the definition consists of a non exhaustive list of examples and some explanatory notes to help members when they’re considering whether something they’ve seen or heard might be transphobic.

  • Matt (Bristol) 23rd Sep '20 - 2:27pm

    Alice, thank you. That focuses things.

    “‘Transphobia’ is the fear or dislike of someone based on the fact they are trans. Transphobia, whether through words or action, may be targeted at people who are, or who are perceived to be, trans or trans allies.

    ‘Trans’ is an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a variety of terms. Trans people are not required to have undergone any medical or social transition to be considered trans. Other examples are set out in the Stonewall Glossary.

    Transphobic behaviour may include (i) attempting directly or through advocacy to remove trans people’s rights, (ii) misrepresenting trans people, (iii) abuse of trans people, and (iv) systematically excluding trans people from discussions about issues that directly affect them

    With regard to point (i) does that mean the party considers the proposed reforms to the GRA which are party policy to be rights trans people would have under a Lib Dem govt, so therefore advocating for any change to party policy on the GRA would be transphobic by this definition?

  • Matt – point (i) says it is transphobic to try and repeal rights trans people already have, not rights they might have under a future hypothetical Lib Dem government. I hope our members would see that the Party’s policy on the GRA provides a humane and fair approach to trans people, but if you don’t, advocating not amending it is fine. If someone campaigns to make it party policy to roll back the current GRA or remove rights from trans people under current law that could be transphobic.

    David – the Equality Act 2010 has a deeply unhelpful and confusing definition of ‘sex’ (largely because of when it was written). It refers to women and men, which most people would now consider to be categories of ‘gender’, rather than male or female, which most people consider the dominate two ‘biological sexes’ and it ignores non-binary (gender) and intersex (biological sex) people all together. The Act then protects ‘gender reassignment’ which most people would consider now to be an old fashioned phrase for ‘trans’. Ideally I would update this to make it clear that both sex and gender identity are protected characteristics.

    To the extent you are specifically asking about the 2010 Act’s exclusions for single sex spaces, there are exclusions for competitive sport, single sex women’s shelters and certain other exclusions enshrined in equality law – https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/gender-reassignment-discrimination.

    As I said to Matt our definition talks only about trying to remove rights from trans people as being transphobic. It doesn’t require anyone to campaign for or give additional rights to trans people that they don’t currently have. The advocation of keeping the exclusions for single sex spaces is therefore not transphobic.

  • Matt (Bristol) 24th Sep '20 - 12:44pm

    Alice, thankyou for that; it is very clear.

    I have to say that when I was a member, I received the impression that many other members felt that it was inherently transphobic to not agree to the party’s specified reforms of the GRA and the ground has become polarised, with those who wish to see no change in law but no regression either, being written out of the narrative as they are politically inconvenient. I maintain that the narrative of a ‘rollback’ has been rhetorically applied to those who differ on conscience on the issue of more reform, and I suspect there will be those in the party who will feel emboldened by this definition to cast aspersion on such people with the threat of the disciplinary process behind them.

    I would also say that I am uncomfortable with your usage of the assumptive phrase ‘most people’ which doesn’t feel like it would be something a disciplinary process should be based on.

  • Alice Thomas 24th Sep '20 - 2:00pm

    Matt – I used the phrase ‘most people’ in the context of what the general understanding is of the terms sex and gender and common understanding is important to the meaning of language. If you’re more comfortable with it you can replace the phase ‘most people’ with ‘the Oxford English Dictionary’ and the statement still works.

  • Alice Thomas –
    ” the Equality Act 2010 has a deeply unhelpful and confusing definition of ‘sex’ (largely because of when it was written). It refers to women and men, which most people would now consider to be categories of ‘gender’, rather than male or female, which most people consider the dominate two ‘biological sexes’ and it ignores non-binary (gender) and intersex (biological sex) people all together.”

    “…I used the phrase ‘most people’ in the context of what the general understanding is of the terms sex and gender and common understanding is important to the meaning of language. If you’re more comfortable with it you can replace the phase ‘most people’ with ‘the Oxford English Dictionary’ and the statement still works.”

    I’m afraid I’m coming to this discussion rather late, as I’ve been giving myself time to consider the definition and examples, and its implications for open discussion within the party of matters relating to trans people.

    And I’m also afraid that your first assertion – that people refer to men and women in relation to gender, and male and female in relation to sex – seems highly unlikely to me based on my own experience, although it may be true within a particular segment of society. Can you provide any substantiation whatsoever?

    My understanding has always been that a man or woman is a male or female human. So a man or woman is simply a male or female who is also human.

    A quick online survey of dictionary definitions seems to confirm this, meaning that your second assertion is also highly questionable.

    Unfortunately, the OED itself is subscriber-only, but here are some of the others:
    Oxford Learner’s Dictionary: “an adult human male”
    Collins English Dictionary: “an adult male human being”.
    Lexico (“powered by Oxford”): “an adult male human being”
    Cambridge Dictionary: “an adult male human being”
    Dictionary.com: “an adult male person”

  • This does really matter, because a person’s sex and their gender may not be the same and we need to be able to be clear about when we are talking about a person’s sex and a person’s gender.

    A very straightforward way to do this is to refer to “biological men” and “biological women”.

    The assertion that such an expression is “eradicating a trans person’s gender identity in favour of their biology” is questionable in the extreme. The expression, at its most basic, is simply asserting that a person’s gender may not be the same as their sex, which is surely unarguable: a person’s gender may emerge over time but their sex is immutable.

  • Alice Thomas 25th Sep '20 - 1:52pm

    Hi Toby – the statement was ”… male or female which [the OED] consider[s] the two dominant biological sexes’. The OED definition of ‘Sex’ def. 2 on Lexico is ‘Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.’ On OED.com definition 1a of ‘sex’ is ‘either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions; (hence) the members of these categories viewed as a group; the males or females of a particular species, esp. the human race, considered collectively’.

  • Toby Keynes 25th Sep '20 - 3:56pm

    Alice,

    Not sure what statement you are referring to.

    I was directly quoting your statement that man/woman relates to sex but male/female relates to gender, which simply isn’t supported by the evidence.

    You quote the Lexico and OED definitions of “sex”, both of which refer to “male” and “female”).
    But so does the Lexico definition of “gender”:
    “Either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones…..”

    So there is absolutely no indication here that “man” and “woman” refer to gender but “male” and “female” refer to sex, as you assert.

    Whereas the definitions of “man” that I quoted above, as “an adult male human being” or “an adult human male”, make it clear that there is no such distinction.

    So how does one make it clear whether one is talking about people whose sex is male, or people whose gender is male, given that these now mean very different things and a transgender person may be of male sex but female gender (or vice versa).

    If you can’t make that distinction, you can’t have an genuinely open and fully informed discussion about sex and gender.

    It seems pretty ludicrous to me to assert that people who do try to make that distinction, by referring to biological sex, are de facto prejudiced against trans people.

    I really do think this assertion needs to be seriously revisited.

    This also reflect the other massive failure of the statement adopted by FB, which is that it in no way recognises that the examples listed MAY BE indicative of prejudice.

    Any list of examples of prejudice (against any minority) has to leave room for interpretation, taking into account the context and the views and actions of the person being accused.

  • Alice Thomas 25th Sep '20 - 10:19pm

    Hi Toby – I was quoting the part of my previous comment to Matt where I refer to ‘most people’ – I’m not sure what statement you’re quoting?

    I don’t agree with your characterisation that the examples are absolutes or that context isn’t taken into account. The explanatory notes specifically say that we recognise mistakes happen and we will consider things like people’s understanding, awareness and behaviour in response to being challenged. It is in that context, and in the context of the limits of the definition itself (which as I said to Matt is only the wording in quotation marks), that cases are already considered. This is a clarification of existing policy and practice, not a change.

    In that context, describing someone as a ‘biological man’ when you don’t know that person might find it offensive would not be intentionally transphobic. Introducing a person as a ‘biological man’ when they have asked you to refer to them as a woman or a trans person or otherwise would be intentionally transphobic. It’s about simple respect of other people’s choices and beliefs, which should not be controversial.

  • Some, maybe most, of the examples in this definition are very similar to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. It would be intellectually more honest to credit the source of that text. I don’t see a problem in learning from others, but where the work is so clearly similar, and the source is known, credit should be given.

    https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/working-definition-antisemitism?usergroup=5

  • Alice – You are very confused hence I quote what you have written below

    “David – the Equality Act 2010 has a deeply unhelpful and confusing definition of ‘sex’ (largely because of when it was written). It refers to women and men, which most people would now consider to be categories of ‘gender’, rather than male or female, which most people consider the dominate two ‘biological sexes’ and it ignores non-binary (gender) and intersex (biological sex) people all together. The Act then protects ‘gender reassignment’ which most people would consider now to be an old fashioned phrase for ‘trans’. Ideally I would update this to make it clear that both sex and gender identity are protected characteristics”.

    1. Most people do not consider sex as gender today, anymore than they did when the law was written. Sex refers to the biology of a person and gender is effectively a social construct. Different.

    2. Sex is binary. Gender is non-binary.

    The entire article is basically saying that there is no room for discussion and growth. If you are not trans then you have no right to have a say. Well, everyone else will say the same thing, I am a woman, or man and want to use biological sex to define ourselves and gender has no room. Dialogue is key. #Libdems have overlooked the needs of enriched dialogue by excluding a lot of people who would have had a positive and fair input to this discussions. And have instead involved groups that have been petitioning for child to receive support to transition without parental consent and that people are born in the wrong body. trans rights are human rights and so everyone should work together. not limit and remove freedom of speech and other human rights.

  • Jonathan Coulter 2nd Oct '20 - 1:57pm

    @Denis Mollison: “The party adopted another other over-long definition recently, from which at least one paragraph of the present one is plagiarized”. This is something of an understatement Denis, as you can see when you compare the Transphobia definition to the IHRA ‘working definition’ of antisemitism:
    – “Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions”, c/f “Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about trans people or their cisgender allies. This includes spreading the idea of a “trans conspiracy” which asserts undue influence over media or government or claiming that cisgender allies support trans rights initiatives out of fear or bribery rather than a genuine belief that trans rights are human rights”.
    – “Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews”, c/f “Accusing trans people, as a group, of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single trans person or even non-trans people”.
    – “Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation”, c/f “Applying double standards by requiring of trans people behaviours that are not expected or demanded of any other groups in society – for example criticising both trans women who do not conform to female stereotypes for not being feminine enough and trans women who do conform for perpetuating sexism”.
    – “Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion”, c/f “Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or physical or mental harming of trans people because of their gender identity”.
    All sorts of people promoting minority causes would like special codes to shut down debate and advance their interests. By endorsing such elements, Lib Dems will find themselves colluding in the suppression of freedom of expression, and negate the teaching of John Stewart Mill and other much-revered Liberals of yore.

  • Alison Eden 9th Oct '20 - 4:58pm

    Six people spoke in different ways at conference critically of the phrase ‘TWAW, TMAM, Non-Binary people are Non Binary’ ‘ There were several complaints logged against those speakers and as far as I know every single one has been dismissed. So that suggests it is possible to be discursive about this issue within the new definition.

  • Coming back to this discussion after some time, I realise that some of my comments were based on a very basic misreading of one of the transphobia statement’s examples, as a result of which Alice Thomas and I were writing at cross purposes.

    I was intending to assert that it cannot be inherently transphobic for someone to define themself as a biological man or woman, or to refer to other people who are NOT transgender (or for that matter intersex) as biological men or women.

    People who are not transgender should be able to define their own identities in their own terms respected, just as people who are transgender should.

    We should also be able to address the distinction between sex and gender in meaningful terms in any discussion about gender issues.

    However, I absolutely agree that making personal references to a trans man as a “biological woman” or to a trans woman as a “biological man” in pretty much any other context, if one is aware that this is likely to cause offence or upset, is intentionally hurtful and wrong.

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