The cat is finally out of the bag. The tightly-linked, but deliberately opaque group of transphobes and trans-haters largely associated with a shady group calling itself “A Woman’s Place”, has revealed its true aim. And it is not the aim that it tells us it wants.
Transphobes Exploiting Feminism as an Alibi for Hate (or "TEFAHs" as I call them) have consistently, and dishonestly, told everyone that they just want a “debate” about whether trans peoplehave the right to exist. Their crowdfunder to take the Labour Party to court to purge trans women from all-women shortlists has exposed this as a lie, once and for all. These groups, of largely anonymous individuals, have demonstrated what trans people have known for a long time; namely that they do not want any kind of “debate” whatsoever
The way trans people have been specifically excluded from the “debate” in the right-wing mainstream media since September, has demonstrated what real “no-platforming” looks like. And while these groups of supposedly “left-wing” transphobes attempt to exclude trans people from discussing trans people within the Labour Party they work hand-in-glove with neoliberal right-wing media operations like Murdoch’s Times and Viscount Rothermere’s Daily Mail producing Trump-like hatred of trans people.
This TEFAH movement to exclude trans people from debate about trans people is now explicit; they have submitted motions to Constituency Labour Parties which are clear; they want cisgender women to be the sole arbiters of what rights trans people should have, and trans people should be excluded from this. Their motions argue for these decisions to be the sole preserve of women’s groups but not trans people, LGBT Labour or any other group of trans people. However it is not merely the content of these motions that is deliberately exclusionary, the way the TEFAH’s are going about this is also exclusionary; these motions are often submitted in such a way that trans people cannot respond until it has become a fait accompli. If there are no trans members of a particular CLP, or if they are not aware these motions are being proposed, trans people are effectively excluded from these debate about trans people.
So while their claim to want a debate has obviously been dishonest from the start, fundraising to take Labour to court has finally made this unambiguously explicit. Whatever they do, whatever they say, this group of transphobes and haters clearly does not want any kind of “debate”. Indeed their main strategy is to exclude trans people from any discussion of trans people, whether that be on a national level in the right-wing mainstream media or within the Labour Party itself. Whatever they claim, they do not want a “debate”, in fact they want the opposite, they want to close any debate down, and their actions have demonstrated this unambiguously. The Labour Party needs to treat those engaged in these attempts to shut down debate appropriately.