Labour’s manifesto is Stonewall lite

Jun 14, 2024 by

by Joan Smith, UnHerd:

It’s Stonewall lite: the Labour manifesto, which was the party’s chance to win back disillusioned women, has brazenly confirmed the influence of trans activists instead. Unveiled with great fanfare, it contains a series of pledges that will delight zealots who peddle fantasies about the oppression of transgender people. What Labour hasn’t done is take notice of feminist lawyers and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who all say that the Equality Act urgently needs clarification to protect single-sex spaces.

The party isn’t even honest about its proposals on sex and gender, adding a nervous gloss to make them sound more reasonable than they are. Using the language of gender theory, it describes “conversion therapy” as abuse and promises “a full trans-inclusive ban on conversion practices”. Labour frontbenchers, including the Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting, must be aware that Dr Hilary Cass has warned against any such ban, suggesting it might “make professional fearfulness worse than it already is”. So Labour has added a line about “protecting the freedom for people to explore their sexual orientation and gender identity”, directly contradicting the first half of the pledge.

A Labour government will also move closer to self-ID, making it easier for men who haven’t had surgery or taken hormones to get a legal document declaring they’re female. The party has rowed back from allowing a single GP to diagnose gender dysphoria, saying it will have to be done by a “specialist doctor”, but it’s still making unevidenced claims about the “indignities” of the current process. “We will modernise, simplify and reform the intrusive and outdated gender recognition law”, the manifesto declares, as though acquiring a gender recognition certificate is of no more import than getting a new passport.

Labour is also committed to making “hate crimes” against transgender people an aggravated offence. “Hate crimes” are defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as “any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice”, something trans activists have embraced with relish. As a former Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Keir Starmer should be aware of the danger of increasing penalties for an offence that’s likely to have a chilling effect on free speech, but that’s what happens when you contract out key areas of policy to illiberal lobbyists.

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