Yes to self-identity: Fight for trans rights

photo Mike Luff

photo Mike Luff   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party LGBT+ group

The Tories are no allies of LGBT+ people. The recent leak in the Sunday Times of Johnson’s intention to dump plans to improve trans people’s rights to self-identify shows it again.

In 2016, the Tories initiated a debate about whether to review the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004, and make it easier for trans people to self-identify. The then government of David Cameron hoped to cut across the hatred of the Tories with this measure. Cameron’s hopes were as doomed as he was.

The current law requires trans people to get a doctor’s diagnosis of gender dysphoria, to ‘prove’ they have lived as their gender for two years, and to seek a recommendation from an unelected and unaccountable committee. The Socialist Party opposes this medicalisation of the process, as well as the financial cost to individuals.

The Socialist Party warned that these legal changes would not be delivered by the Tories – and that they weren’t enough. A struggle for trans’ rights is needed.

And it must also include a fight for the services required by trans people, women, BAME people and all those who suffer from capitalism’s inability to provide a decent life for all; a fight for a fully funded NHS and social care, council housing, free education, and an end to poverty pay and precarious working.

The corona crisis has revealed the Tories to be incapable of putting society’s health and needs before big business profit. With capitalist crisis threatening a million young unemployed by Christmas, and the university system in chaos, winning the political support of young people is off the agenda.

Boris Johnson, like Donald Trump in the US, is therefore largely appealing to those he can mobilise with fear and division in an attempt to maintain a base for his weak and divided party. The toxic debate the Tories opened up is undoubtedly a factor in the recent rises in the rate of LGBT+ hate crime, including violence against trans people.

Tory hate must be countered with solidarity. That is the lesson of the Black Lives Matter protests, and of the original Stonewall protests 51 years ago. That trans’ rights are even under discussion is largely down to the courage of trans workers and young people who have had no choice but to fight.

The BLM movement is giving confidence to other oppressed sections of society to fight back. We must unite to smash the inequality, discrimination and class oppression of capitalism.

The capitalist class attempts to divide the working class along gender, race, religious and sexual orientation lines. This is in order to make exploiting us easier. But because we produce the wealth, the working class has enormous potential power.

If we strike in big enough numbers we can stop society. If we want to be able to end all forms of discrimination and oppression, we have to remove the grip of the capitalist class from the running of society.

The fight for liberation from discrimination is part of the struggle for socialism.