Parliament diversity campaign ‘platformed transphobes’ and wouldn’t rule out ‘hosting racists’, alleges former ambassador

Trans woman quits 50:50 Parliament citing 'hosting of known transphobes'

A diversity ambassador for 50:50 Parliament, a parliamentary gender-equality campaign, has quit citing the group’s “hosting of known transphobes” in a damning resignation letter.

Jasmine Joséphine Sakura-Rose, a Liberal Democrat, resigned from 50:50 Parliament‘s diversity ambassadors program after it repeatedly “[ignored] the voices of trans women and non-binary people”.

“It has become abundantly clear to me that while 50:50 is perfectly happy to use women and non-binary people from diverse backgrounds for publicity purposes, when it comes down to listening to those women and non-binary people it is the viewpoints of cis white women who are privileged over others,” Sakura-Rose said in a statement on her resignation.

50:50 Parliament held a “question time” event on 21 January made up of four female politicians, one of whom was Labour MP Rosie Duffield.

Duffield has been plagued by accusations of transphobia since July 2020, with Keir Starmer repeatedly called on by Labour members, groups and LGBT+ organisations to remove the whip and suspend the Canterbury MP over her repeated anti-trans comments.

Two women, one of whom was Duffield’s only LGBT+ member of staff, have quit her office in the past six months citing her “overtly transphobic” views.

Sakura-Rose, whose resignation statement does not name Duffield, also alleges that when 50:50 Parliament was asked “if they’d be willing to host a racist” she was told “that there would be a discussion involved in whether to host that speaker”.

“A discussion. On whether to host a racist,” Sakura-Rose said.

50:50 Parliament’s mission is to “achieve an inclusive gender-balanced parliament” and as such it “lobbies parliament and the political parties to be more inclusive of women”.

Founder Frances Scott launched the campaign in November 2013, after the 2010 general election resulted in a parliament made up of just 21.5 per cent female MPs.

As of December 2019, there are 220 female MPs – making up 33.8 per cent of the House of Commons.

Sakura-Rose, who told PinkNews she’s not heard back from 50:50 Parliament since she resigned (she is still listed as a diversity ambassador on the organisation’s website), continued in her resignation letter: “50:50 Parliament as an organisation talks about being a diverse organisation, but does not behave in that way.”

She added: “When genuine queries are raised about who it decides to platform and whose ideologies they will promote in doing so, those queries are brushed aside with, ‘We’re not into no-platforming’.

“I cannot be a part of an organisation that thinks it’s acceptable to use trans and non-binary people, but does not listen to them. I cannot be a part of an organisation that thinks diversity is just having faces you can use to get your ‘diversity cookies’.

“And I certainly cannot be part of an organisation that decides the voices of transphobes should be listened to while the voices of trans and non-binary people should be ignored in favour of transphobes.”

Sakura-Rose, a Welsh Liberal Democrat, lives in the east valleys of south Wales and is a mental-health campaigner, volunteer for charity Mind and mature student of sign language at Coleg y Cymoedd Ystrad Mynach. She was born in Brecon.

50:50 Parliament has been contacted for comment.