Green Party Women must remain trans-inclusive
The intrinsically linked nature of social and climate justice isn’t news to anyone who has been involved with the Green Party for more than a few minutes. From tackling the disproportionate impact of deadly air pollution on people of colour, to opposing the running of privatised public transport for profit, the solutions to the climate crisis are so often those which promote societal equality and which tackle historic and contemporary injustice. Liberation politics is at the heart of all of this: ‘for people and planet’ means for all people, not merely those free from societal oppression.
Next week, Green Party Women, a self organised liberation group within the party, will vote on a new constitution. This proposed constitution would remove the right of non-binary people and trans people who do not identify as women to vote in Green Party Women democracy, or to stand for election to its committee. It is vital that this constitution is rejected. Time and time again, the Green Party membership has reiterated its support for trans-inclusive feminism, passing a policy for the self identification of gender, and for the recognition of non-binary identities. Liberation from patriarchy must be inclusive and universal. To exclude trans and non-binary voices from Green Party Women is to absorb the system of oppression against which feminism fights into our own ranks.
Self organised liberation groups in the Green Party of England and Wales represent an important principle within the fight for social justice: ‘nothing about us without us’. Ensuring that the voices of those affected are centred in the struggle for liberation is crucial — after all, there is no one more qualified to speak on the extent of queerphobia than queer people, no more legitimate voice than that of disabled people in the fight against ableism in society. Our liberation groups organise against these forms of structural oppression, envisaging and mobilising for a world free from discrimination and prejudice where everyone is free to be who they are, and where barriers to societal participation are broken down. Elevating and supporting traditionally marginalised communities to make and shape policy, messaging, and campaigns ensures that the end results are inclusive, and truly representative of the needs of those they seek to empower.
This extends, of course, to the fight against patriarchal oppression. From the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States earlier this autumn, to the Conservative government refusing to take a clear stance on abortion here in the UK, whilst continuing to fail to make misogyny a hate crime, it’s clear that patriarchy is alive and thriving. In the fourth richest economy in the world, tampons are still financially out of reach for millions, menstrual leave is but a pipe dream, and just 1% of reported rapes lead to a charge — let alone a conviction.
Meanwhile, the moral panic over trans rights and Drag Queen Story Hour should not be forgotten. Trans liberation and feminism are two sides of the same coin, both fighting against the rigid, socially constructed, and oppressive concept of the gender binary and associated norms and expectations, and pushing for a society where regardless of who you are or how you identify, you are respected and valued. Both, then, push back against the patriarchy, the oppressive structure by which the gender binary is constructed, and which ensures that men always come out on top.
Patriarchy has devastating consequences for all women, and for all trans and non-binary people. Biological essentialism — the idea that womanhood is rooted purely in biological factors — is fatally flawed, even from a so-called ‘gender critical’ perspective, simply due to the huge variation in biology, from hormones to secondary sex characteristics. To define women by their biology is to exclude millions of cis-gender women, as well as trans women, playing right into the hands of the patriarchy by fundamentally defining and valuing women solely by their ability to give birth. Patriarchal oppression isn’t this exclusive, and nor is the definition of womanhood.
The feminist movement cannot afford to fall into the trap so cunningly set for it by the far-right. We cannot afford to tear ourselves apart over the inclusion of trans and non-binary people in our movement, arguing over unisex toilets whilst our fundamental human rights are stripped away. Organising within the Green Party for liberation from patriarchy must, in the context of a torrent of transphobia in politics and the media, set an example of what strong, focussed, inclusive feminism looks like.
When I joined the Green Party in 2019, I was still exploring my own identity, desperate to know why neither of the two available gender labels felt right to me, and blaming myself for it. The inclusive nature of the Green Party, specifically the Young Greens and LGBTIQA+ Greens, gave me the confidence and safety to continue that journey, surrounded by people who supported me and made me comfortable to express myself as a non-binary person. The passing of the proposed new constitution for Green Party Women’s would contradict the clear stance of the Green Party, and take as given the position of the far right: that demonising and further marginalising trans people should be the focus of feminism, rather than tackling worsening oppression by agents of those same far right ideologies. It must be rejected.
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