On the Andrew Marr show on Sunday 28 January, Jeremy Corbyn affirmed that “the position of the party is that where you have self-identified as a woman, then you are treated as a woman.”
Although the NEC is yet to make a formal announcement, it is expected that it will affirm that transwomen can self-define in order to stand on all-women shortlists and in women’s sections of the Labour Party, and will not be asked to have a Gender Recognition Certificate.
Corbyn′s position is correct, and his statement is a welcome affirmation of what had been the norm for transwomen in the Labour Party before challenges were raised to it in recent months.
A large number of other organisations allow self-identification without detriment to women, including those who work with women who are survivors of sexual violence. Most women are not asked to ″prove″ their gender. We should not be in the business of saying some women don′t look or act enough like women so should be asked for ″proof″.
Obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate is a bureaucratic, often personally difficult, and costly process. Many transwomen will not have one, or not have one yet. We should not be demanding they do in order to recognise and include them.
There is not a queue of men who are going to identify as women to enter all-women shortlists. Why would they when life in politics (and in general) is much easier as a man?
Transwomen are often oppressed as women, as well as for being trans. Our struggle should be a common one.
The inclusion of transwomen in the Labour Party will be to the benefit of the Labour women′s movement, rather than to its detriment.