In specific circumstances

Selina Todd says Labour should be the party for women but these days isn’t so much.

But recently it hasn’t been clear that a future Labour government would define women in a way that makes sense to anyone with a basic grasp of biology, let alone advance their equality.

Party activists and prominent MPs claim that men’s exclusion from women’s changing rooms, hospital wards and sports is ‘transphobic’. Labour backbencher Rosie Duffield’s support for women’s sex-based rights provoked threats. The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, remained silent.

By doing so he reminded women for the billionth time that we will be thrown overboard the instant the sea gets a little rough.

Until now. This week, Starmer’s spokesman announced that Labour will ‘support the implementation of the Equality Act, including the single-sex exemption which allows the provision of women-only spaces’…

Starmer clearly hopes this announcement will keep those on both sides of this debate quiet. His spokesman later clarified that Labour would only support single sex provisions for women ‘in specific circumstances.’

Why? Why do women have to be policed this way? Why do women’s needs and wants come second to other people’s? Why are women treated as the dominant and privileged party in these disputes? When was it decided that women are the oppressors and men are the oppressed?

Ignoring sex doesn’t make sex-based discrimination and harassment go away, it just prevents you from dealing with it. Keir Starmer should reclaim Labour’s history of standing up for women’s rights. Otherwise the spectre of Jo Swinson — who was unable to define ‘woman’ on BBC Radio 4’s Today show , and shortly afterwards lost her seat and her leadership of the Liberal Democrats — may return to haunt him.

Also, otherwise he’s a sexist asshole.

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