On 24th June 2020, the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights (LCTR) drafted a letter addressed to Catherine West, Labour MP for Haringey and Wood Green calling on her not to share a platform with Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters at a Labour Women’s Forum event in North London.
Here are the screenshots of the letter:
Here follow the main points from an email we sent to Catherine West today to correct the misrepresentations in the LCTR letter.
We are the co-founders of Woman’s Place UK, a campaign that was set up to ensure women’s voices were heard in the public consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA). WPUK is also committed to upholding the single sex exemptions which are embedded in the Equality Act 2010. A commitment to these single sex exemptions is clearly stated in the 2019 Labour Party manifesto.
We write in response to a letter we have seen shared on social media which called on you to withdraw from speaking on a panel with Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters. We understand that you did take part in the meeting and that it was a very successful event. We would like to congratulate you for ignoring the unfounded slurs levelled at a woman whose reputation speaks for itself.
We are honoured to have worked with Pragna and others at Southall Black Sisters who have led the way in fighting for the rights of women over the past 40 years. We stand on their shoulders.
The letter makes scurrilous and unevidenced claims that about our campaign. Woman’s Place UK is not a ‘transphobic hate group’. We were not ‘established in order to denigrate the rights of trans people’.
We are against all forms of discrimination. We believe in the right of everyone to live their lives free from discrimination and harassment. Trans women have spoken at our meetings and trans people have attended and participated as members of the audience.
We were established to ensure that very real concerns about how changes to the GRA might impact on the Equality Act were considered in the government’s public consultation. As you know, the Public Sector Equality Duty places legal obligations on public bodies to ensure the rights of all those with protected characteristics are upheld and to work to foster good relations between different groups. We believe that the only way to resolve conflict is through dialogue and that is what we have tried to facilitate.
Sadly, several LGBT+ organisations (Stonewall, Gendered Intelligence, Scottish Trans Alliance) have actively lobbied to have these single sex exemptions removed from the Equality Act. It is perfectly proper that women should be able to campaign to keep them.
However, we do hope that you support the right of women to take part in public consultations on changes to the law as well as the commitments to single sex exemptions as outlined in the Labour Party manifesto.
We will continue to seek the dialogue which is necessary to ensure everyone’s concerns are addressed and their rights upheld.
Woman’s Place UK
27th June 2020