POLITICS
27/02/2018 14:07 GMT | Updated 27/02/2018 15:52 GMT

Trans Model Munroe Bergdorf 'Thrilled' To Advise Labour MP On LGBT+ Issues

But LGBT Labour voice concerns about new 'undemocratic' group.

Transgender model and campaigner Munroe Bergdorf has been asked to informally advise a Labour shadow minister on LGBT+ issues.

Announcing the move on Twitter, Bergdorf said she was “thrilled” to join a panel of advisers to shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler.

The 29-year-old said she wanted to help Labour “form and push through fairer and more effective policy change”.

Bergdorf was sacked by L’Oréal last year after amid a backlash over her comments about the “racial violence” of “all white people”.

Helen Grant, a vice chair of the Conservative Party, said Butler should reconsider the appointment of Bergdorf given the comments.

And the Labour Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans Rights (LGBT Labour), has voiced concerns about at the “unelected and undemocratic” new group which it said appeared to be duplicating its official work.

Bergdorf joined Corbyn and other LGBT+ activists at a reception in Parliament on Monday hosted by Butler.

A spokesperson for Butler said: “Dawn is proud to stand with those challenging discrimination. Dawn will consult with the LGBT+ advisory group on a wide-range of LGBT+ issues.”

Bergdorf was dropped by L’Oréal, days after being hired, for making comments that were “at odds” with its values. 

She later said her comments had not been seen in the correct context.

“When I stated that ‘all white people are racist’, I was addressing that (sic) fact that western society as a whole, is a system rooted in white supremacy - designed to benefit, prioritise and protect white people before anyone of any other race,” she said on Facebook.

“Unknowingly, white people are socialised to be racist from birth onwards. It is not something genetic. No one is born racist.”

Bergdorf said if L’Oréal truly wanted to champion equality and diversity it needed to “actively work to dismantle the source of what created this discrimination and division in the first place” rather than just “cash in” on a hole in the market. 

“If brands are going to use empowerment as a tool to push product to people of colour, then the least they can do is actually work (sic) us to dismantle the source, not throw us under the bus when it comes to the crunch. At times like this, it becomes blindly obvious what is genuine allyship and what is performative,” she said.

“I stand for tolerance and acceptance - but neither can be achieved if we are unwilling to discuss why intolerance and hate exist in the first place.”

Tory Helen Grant said in a letter to Butler: “When Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, he promised a ‘kinder politics’.

“Yet it seems every day we seem some new example of abuse from the Labour Party.

“The kind of language Bergdorf has used has no place in public life, and ought to be condemned by all those who are serious about promoting equality.”

LGBT Labour today asked if the advisory board would “duplicate or replace” its work.

In a letter to Katy Clark, chair of Labour’s democracy review, the group said: “LGBT Labour is an affiliate to the Labour. It is a democratic organisation that debates and forms policy on behalf of our members.

“It organises the party’s presence at prides across the county and campaigns for LGBT equality in the Labour Party and wider society. We organise events at Labour party conference, in Westminster and at regional conferences.

“We are sure you would agree with our concerns that this unelected and undemocratic group, while very well-meaning, is self-appointed and clearly not for ordinary members. It should not have the formal role as the lead advisors to the party of LGBT issues.”