Trans panel

Photo of trans panel at #GPConf by Lewis Coyne

At the Green Party spring conference in Liverpool over the weekend (March 6th to 9th), a range of motions which had been submitted by members of the LGBTIQ Greens group were passed unanimously under the heading “trans rights”. These placed the rights of trans people more robustly into the policies document of the Green Party, termed: ‘Policies for a Sustainable Society’.

On the conference floor the membership voted to oppose the ‘spousal veto’ (which allows the spouse of a trans person effectively to “veto” the  person’s gender recognition); to increase and improve the provision of Gender Identity Clinics, particularly for trans children and youths; to push for education on trans issues in schools and in wider society; and to review current anti-discrimination legislation to ensure better protection for trans people. As the Green Party is a fully democratic organisation, this is now party policy and will also form part of the General Election manifesto.

In addition, a trans panel was held at the conference. The speakers included a trans person of colour from Brighton who talked about the ground-breaking work the Green led council has carried out and continues to advance, in consultation with the trans community in Brighton. A young trans woman from Liverpool talked about how she had started transitioning whilst at school and she also called for a reduction in the waiting times trans people are forced to wait before receiving treatment. A gender-neutral person from Belarus spoke about the difficulties in Belarus for trans people. In addition, a speaker from the International Intersex Organisation UK affiliate explained the spectrum of body differences and described the many operations intersex people are forced to have with no choice in the matter, describing these as human rights abuses. The panel was received with enthusiastic applause, with many calling it the best event at conference.

The day after the panel, one of the Green Party feminist’s group ‘Women by Name’ met. This particular group is open to all self-identifying women. Women by Name discussed a number of issues, including the new conference chairing policy which instructs chairs to refer to the membership without referring to gender as to avoid mistakes. This has been well received by members.

The Green Party reacted with horror over the news that in some states in the US, laws have been proposed that mean that should you wish to use a public toilet, this must reflect the chromosomes you were born with. Aside from the fact that chromosomal difference is widespread and rarely known in many instances, this would mean that many trans people would be at risk from discrimination and violence when needing to use facilities. The Green Party rejects outright any such form of discrimination. The Conference was held at Liverpool’s Arena Convention Centre where the party, mindful of such issues, took care to ensure that gender-neutral toilets would be available, in addition to the standard provision of gendered toilets.

At the Q&A session on the final day of the conference, Deputy Leader Amelia Womack took the opportunity to congratulate the success of the panel, and when asked to give an unequivocal statement of the legitimacy of trans people, said ‘Trans women are women, and Trans men are men.’

Charlie Kiss, General Election candidate for Islington South and Finsbury
Andrea Grainger, LGBTIQ Greens Committee
Sahra Rae Taylor, LGBTIQ Greens Committee