Labour MP Rosie Duffield reminded ‘gender critical’ voices ‘don’t have a monopoly on feminism’
Labour MP Charlotte Nichols shut down Rosie Duffield’s suggestion that MPs who opposed her ‘gender critical’ rhetoric don’t care about women.
Duffield was heckled during a debate on the UK government’s move to block Scotland’s gender recognition reforms on Tuesday (17 January).
She asked Scotland secretary Alister Jack to “recognise the strength of feeling amongst women, women’s rights groups and activists in Scotland” that the proposals would “allow anyone at all to legally self-identify as either sex” and enter women’s changing rooms, domestic violence refuges and other spaces.
But Duffield, who’s become notorious for her anti-trans remarks, couldn’t get her own party to agree with the statement, which ignored fundamental realities about the 2010 Equality Act.
The Scottish bill would have allowed trans people to have their gender recognised on birth, marriage, civil partnership and death certificates without obtaining a medical diagnosis. It would not have impacted access to single-sex spaces, which does not require a gender recognition certificate (GRC). Duffield’s comments also ignored widespread support for the bill in Scotland.
Labour and SNP MPs were seen shaking their head in disagreement, while others could be heard calling the statement “absolute rubbish.”
Shortly after the Commons debate, Duffield tweeted: “Being shouted down in the chamber by men who clearly don’t want women to speak up for our rights to single-sex spaces. How very progressive.
“The protection of single-sex spaces for the very most vulnerable women are at stake, so why on earth are Labour colleagues ok with this?!”
One such colleague, MP Charlotte Nichols, pointed out that those with gender critical views “don’t have a monopoly on feminism.”
“It’s disingenuous to suggest that women who support [gender recognition] reform – including those who, like myself, are both survivors of sexual violence and LGBT – don’t care about women’s safety because of a disagreement on policy,” she said.
Nichols further explained that the bill had nothing to do with single-sex spaces, and that it was made clear that the Equality Act took “primacy”.
The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill – which the UK government blocked – would simply have made it easier for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) to legally recognise their gender.
The amendments would have involved removing various medical requirements for applicants, cutting the waiting time from two years to a few months, and lowering the age limit from 18 to 16.
Scottish secretary Alister Jack said he was blocking reform because he believed the bill would “have a serious adverse impact, among other things, on the operation of the Equality Act 2010”.
During the debate, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who was heard criticising Duffield’s statement, told members of the House that he didn’t believe the government had given a “clear explanation” on why it believes this.
“All it does is [simplify] and [demedicalise] the process of transition,” he told the house. “It doesn’t change the status of somebody who has transitioned.”
He addressed Scottish secretary Alister Jack, saying: “It’s not good enough to say he’s going to publish something later today. He speaks for the government.
“He needs to be able to explain the rationale for this drastic move here, to the house, now.”
Labour has faced calls to remove the whip from Duffield since 2021 over an alleged “pattern of LGBT-phobic behaviour”.
Duffield has previously called trans women “male-bodied biological men” and said she would refuse to call Eddie Izzard a woman. She denies that she is transphobic.
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