The issues raised in Jo Phoenix’s judgment should ring alarm bells with leaders of political parties, which, like universities, are bound by the Equality Act to treat members and employees fairly (“Vindictive, cowardly leaders bowed to the gender bullies and failed Jo Phoenix”).
The judgment is clear: belief in the material, social and political salience of sex is not bigoted, and organisations that facilitate the denigration and harassment of those who hold such a belief are engaging in unlawful discrimination. Yet in our parties – Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green party – gender-critical members continue to face a hostile environment, including smears, abuse, intimidation and administrative attempts to justify or engineer our expulsion.
The Labour party now explicitly supports upholding the single-sex exceptions in the Equality Act, but those who express their support for this policy still face vilification. In a recent act of self-harm, the party suspended its local byelection candidate in Hackney just days before the election, after apparently mistaking her support for women’s rights (Labour policy) with transphobia.
Until party leaders find the courage to stand up to the gender totalitarians, incidents like this – which both damage parties’ credibility and leave them legally vulnerable – are bound to continue.
Lynn Alderson, Labour Women’s Declaration; Zoe Hatch and Emma Bateman, Green Women’s Declaration; Zoe Hollowood, Liberal Voice for Women