The Labour Party has backtracked on its commitment to self-identification for trans people in the UK.
Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, shared Labour’s proposed policies to “modernise, simplify and reform gender recognition law,” effectively confirming the Party’s U-turn on its commitment to trans self-ID.
In a column for The Guardian, Dodds criticised the Conservative Party’s Deputy Chairman, Lee Anderson, who suggested that the upcoming Tory election campaign should be built around “culture wars and trans debate.”
Dodds also wrote that Anderson sought the “opportunity to stoke division.”
“Responsible politicians would understand that this isn’t a debate to exploit, it’s people’s lives,” she added. “Who they are and who, all too frequently, they suffer violence for being.”
However, Dodds also criticised the Scottish National Party’s supposedly “cavalier approach” to reform last year.
“However, the law must also protect legitimate applications,” she claimed, confirming a shift in the Party’s proposed policy on allowing self-ID for trans people.
Dodds then dismissed the Party’s campaign as “more about picking a fight with Westminster than bringing meaningful change.”
“We will not make the same mistakes,” she declared.
“The requirement to obtain a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria remains an important part of accessing a gender recognition certificate.”
She additionally alleged that “requiring a diagnosis upholds legitimacy of applications and confidence in the system.”
The announcement comes just a year after Keir Starmer declared his support for the Gender Recognition Act changing to allow self-recognition for trans people.
Labour MPs have criticised the U-turn
Members of the Labour Party have openly criticised Dodd’s remarks.
Richard Leonard, Scottish Labour MSP for Central Scotland, asserted that “Scottish Labour’s position on this is clear.”
“We support self ID for trans people and oppose the UK government’s attempt to block the necessary reform we voted for,” he tweeted.
Monica Lennon, also a Scottish Labour MSP for Central Scotland, backed Leonard’s words.
Taking to Twitter, she maintained that “the Scottish Labour manifesto rightly makes clear that our policy is to reform the Gender Recognition Act to demedicalise the process.”
Stonewall has opposed the party’s backtracking on LGBTQ+ rights
Leading LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall has also released a statement condemning Dodd’s column, stating that “the UK has fallen off track as an international leader on LGBTQ+ rights.
“Just 8 years ago we had the best LGBTQ+ rights in Europe, in 2023 we stand in 17th place,” it said in a statement.
“We have fallen back by staying still, as other countries have progressed and modernised their legislation, particularly on trans and intersex people’s rights.”
The charity also declared that “it is wrong to suggest that safeguards cannot exist with a de-medicalised model”.
“The Bill was backed by every established women’s organisation in Scotland, including Women’s Aid, Amnesty International, Engender and Rape Crisis Scotland,” it continued.
“The vast majority of women MSPs voted in favour of the Bill. The majority of Scotland’s women MSPs, feminist advocates and policy experts are satisfied that the provisions in the Bill do not have negative impacts on women and girls in Scotland.”