The following is an open letter of support written by April Preston. We at Lib Dem Women are displaying it here as a statement of our own support for trans rights. Click here to add your own name to the bottom of the original letter.
Liberal women - pro trans rights open letter
As women and liberals we wish to make clear that we do not believe there is any conflict between women’s rights and trans rights.
In light of the ongoing campaigns against trans people we want to reassert our strength of feeling, which is in line with Liberal Democrat policy, that trans rights are indeed human rights.
We would reiterate that the Liberal Democrats are committed, and have been every time the matter has come before conference, to supporting trans rights. Since 2015, it has been the party’s agreed position (https://lgbt.libdems.org.uk/en/page/transgender-and-intersex-health-charter) that:
1. Variations in sex and gender, however they manifest, are a simple fact of human physiology and psychology, and neither the state nor society should pass judgement on people who deviate from what is considered the norm.
2. It is irresponsible at best and malicious at worst, to refuse marginalised people such as the transgender community the right to organise or access sheltered accommodation.
3. Every person has a right to receive prompt medical care that is free at the point of service.
4. No person, and especially no child, should be made to undergo unnecessary medical treatments without their informed consent.
5. We have a responsibility as liberals to represent and liberate the most marginalised people in society.
Moreover, the party recently adopted a definition of transphobia (https://www.libdemvoice.org/liberal-democrats-adopt-definition-of-transphobia-65868.html) which states that “Requiring trans people to be separate from society, using segregated facilities, or denying them access to facilities” or “Advocating the withdrawal or defunding of access to transition-related medical treatment for trans people” are transphobic actions. As such, any suggestion that trans women be segregated or restricted on the basis of their trans identity is a transphobic one.
Regarding single sex spaces, we maintain that any individual, cis or trans, who commits acts which harm others can be dealt with under existing laws and policies. Where existing law is insufficient to protect women from harm, we should seek to address this in ways targeted at specific harmful behaviours, not at groups of people. Trans women have the same right to exist in women’s spaces as any other woman; to say otherwise is dehumanising and places them at significant risk from others.
As a question of basic human rights, we do not believe that advocacy of transphobic positions is a matter for friendly debate; transphobia has no place in this party, either in the context of personal bullying and abuse, or in the wider context of advocating positions which seek to eliminate the space for trans people to exist in society.
We the undersigned stand shoulder to shoulder with our Trans, Non-binary, and gender-nonconforming friends.
Cllr Alexandrine Kantor
Penny Goodman, Chair, Leeds North West Liberal Democrats
Jasmine Joséphine Sakura-Rose
Leena Sarah Farhat
Cllr Avril Coelho, LDDA Chair
Cllr Sarah Medley
Helen Tamblyn Saville
Cass Macdonald, Non-binary LD member
Gill Cleeve, Chair of Stratford & South Warwickshire LDs
(names last updated: 18:40 Tue Feb 9th)