Trans candidates could be fast-tracked into the House of Commons via Labour’s all-women-shortlist policy, Dawn Butler has revealed.
Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Minister said the party should consider including trans women in female-only candidate selections – an automatic process in safe Labour areas - if they applied.
Speaking to The House magazine, however, Butler said it was a “complicated subject” and the party would establish an LGBTI+ advisory board to help party chiefs “take each step at a time”.
She said: “We will be taking guidance and advice from people who are LGBT+ – who don’t all agree – round the table, because they are not a homogeneous group who all agree on one thing or another. You need people who have lived experiences in order to make informed decisions.
“We will take each step at a time. I think if a trans woman wanted to be included in an all-women shortlist then that should be considered.
“I just don’t think people really need to make a big fuss about it. I mean if one of my team members came into the office and decided that James wanted to be called Jane and was now a woman I would not say ‘prove it, what do you mean?’ I would just accept where he is and his journey or where she is and her journey and that she is being her true authentic self.
“This is a very complicated subject actually and there’s two ways to look at it to be fair. I am in favour of equality. I don’t really care how people want to live their lives, if they are not hurting anyone then equality is equality and you should fight for somebody else’s rights as strongly as you fight for your own because that is how we get true equality. For me I want people to be their true authentic self whatever that may be.”
Dawn also said Labour should publish its gender pay gap and “fulfil its obligations” to women.
She predicted 2018 would be “the year for women” as pressure increases on power-holders to close the gender pay gap and the sexual harassment scandal shines a light on the workplace. Asked whether Jeremy Corbyn should publish the party’s gender pay gap, she said: “Yes I do. I think everybody should publish their gender pay gap. I think that you have to see it and measure it to be able to correct it and so it is time for everything to be corrected.
“I really do think that 2018 is the year, well it is the year for women anyway – 100 years since some women received the vote – so I do think in 2018 we are starting as we mean to go on. Asking for pay parity is just a right and everybody needs to fulfil their obligations.”
Butler also laid into Prime Minister Theresa May for defending the appointment of Toby Young on to the advisory board of the Office for Students, despite a litany of sexist remarks the journalist had made on social media.
He has since been forced to resign.
Asked whether she thought May was a feminist, Butler said: “No. Not in my eyes and not in my measure of feminism. I don’t think she is a friend of women. I think that – and I have got good reason for saying that – 86% of the cuts have fallen on the shoulders of women form her Government. And I just don’t see how women could sit back and watch that happen.
“I think Toby Young and what he said about women and his misogynistic comments that Theresa May said she’s not impressed with – she should have put her foot down, she should have insisted that he went, instead of going on national TV to defend him. Our Prime Minister went on national TV to defend somebody that was completely inappropriate for the position.”