EXCL Dawn Butler calls for trans candidates to stand in all-women Labour shortlists

Posted On: 
11th January 2018

Labour should allow transgender people to stand as candidates in all-women shortlists, according to a senior frontbencher.

Dawn Butler is a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn.
Credit: 
PA Images

Dawn Butler, the Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, said more should be done to encourage those in the trans community to be their "true authentic self".

She also revealed that Labour is setting up an LGBT+ advisory board to help shape the party’s thinking on trans issues.

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Controversy about society's attitude to transgender people has flared up in recent months, and speaking to The House magazine, Ms Butler said Labour should take a lead in tackling discrimination.

One way that could be done, she said, was for people from the trans community to stand in all-women shortlists to become a Labour MP.

She said: "We will be taking guidance and advice from people who are LGBT+ – who don’t all agree – round the table, because they are not a homogenous group who all agree on one thing or another. You need people who have lived experiences in order to make informed decisions.

"We will take each step at a time. I think if a trans woman wanted to be included in an all-women shortlist then that should be considered.

"I just don’t think people really need to make a big fuss about it. I mean if one of my team members came into the office and decided that James wanted to be called Jane and was now a woman, I would not say ‘prove it, what do you mean?’ I would just accept where he is and his journey or where she is and her journey and that she is being her true authentic self.

"This is a very complicated subject and there’s two ways to look at it, to be fair. I am in favour of equality. I don’t really care how people want to live their lives, if they are not hurting anyone then equality is equality and you should fight for somebody else’s rights as strongly as you fight for your own because that is how we get true equality.

"For me. I want people to be their true authentic self whatever that may be."

The Brent Central MP also called on Labour to publish its gender pay gap, amid concerns that most of those in the party's top jobs are men.

A row broke out this week after BBC journalist Carrie Gracie quit as its China editor over wage inequality at the corporation.

Asked if Labour should publish details of its own pay rates, Ms Butler said: "Yes I do. I think everybody should publish their gender pay gap. I think that you have to see it and measure it to be able to correct it and so it is time for everything to be corrected. 

"I really do think that 2018 is the year, well it is the year for women anyway – 100 years since some women received the vote – so I do think in 2018 we are starting as we mean to go on. Asking for pay parity is just a right and everybody needs to fulfil their obligations."

THERESA MAY

Elsewhere in the interview, Ms Butler said the Toby Young row proved that Theresa May - only the second female Prime Minister in British history - was not "a friend of women".

Asked whether she thinks Mrs May is a feminist, she said: "No. Not in my eyes and not in my measure of feminism. I don’t think she is a friend of women. I have got good reason for saying that – 86% of the cuts have fallen on the shoulders of women from her government. And I just don’t see how women could sit back and watch that happen.

"I think Toby Young and what he said about women and his misogynistic comments that Theresa May said she’s not impressed with – she should have put her foot down, she should have insisted that he went, instead of going on national TV to defend him. Our Prime Minister went on national TV to defend somebody that was completely inappropriate for the position." 

Labour sources insisted trans women are already allowed to stand in all-women shortlists, and Dawn Butler clarified her comments on Twitter.