The world would be much better off if certain leftists dared to stick their necks out and give full-throated resistance against imperialist aggression without prefacing it with umpteen excuses, extrications and disavowals designed to keep them in at least some of the good graces of ‘polite society’.
On June 20th 2019, the government of Scotland announced that it would not be carrying out the recommendations found within their consultation on the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). Instead, it will launch another consultation for a reform, which will not include non-binary gender recognition, self-identification, or access for under-18 trans individuals.
This response comes from one of our trans comrades.
**Content warning: mention of rape and CSA.**
After a year of abuse, harassment, and fear, the trans community has been betrayed by the Scottish government, who has chosen instead to appease those who seek to deny our existence. When the findings of the GRA (Gender Recognition Act) consultation were announced in November 2018, it was seen as a huge victory for our community, with clear support from all areas of Scottish society. However, within weeks of this, several “women’s groups” had suddenly popped up on social media to attack and demean us, link us to pedophilia and rape, and deny our entire existence. This continued until the announcement that the reform will be put on hold–over a year after the consultation was closed.
These transphobic “women’s groups” have at every turn either ignored or directly attacked actual women’s aid organisations, who have demonstrated the validity and importance of self-identification for over a decade. Their “legitimate concerns” are therefore nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on trans rights. The opening of a second consultation will also lead to a continuation of this sustained harassment of our community, which is already compounded by the fight we face daily, simply for existing.
This announcement has shown again that liberal capitalist governments and political parties can never be trusted with the liberation of oppressed peoples. They see it as sufficient to uphold the rights of a privileged layer of white, cisgender women and pander to what is seen as the popular viewpoint for the sake of winning votes. It is only through revolutionary socialism that true liberation of trans people can be achieved, where a revolutionary government of the working class (trans people are overwhelmingly proletarian due to the oppression and discrimination which they face) can defend and forge forward with the rights which we deserve.
However, one of the most troubling things about the discussion of the GRA reform, in Scotland and across the whole of Britain, has been the responses of some socialist and communist organisations. In particular, the Communist Party of Britain (CPB)’s support for the narrative of “legitimate concerns”, and the CPGB-ML’s descent into overt transphobia have been key examples, but many other groups are simply maintaining a cowardly silence on the matter. This is not good enough and has aided trans-exclusionary radical “feminists” (TERFs) and other reactionaries in stalling progress. The chauvinistic bowing to reaction in the guise of appealing to “the masses”—not only on trans rights but many other areas such as immigration, Brexit, and support for imperialist wars—demonstrates that these groups are endangering those that they should see as comrades by seeking to gain the support of the proletariat through simply appealing to the most reactionary sections of the working class. The reality is that their view of the masses within Britain today is gained without consideration for the sustained programme of propaganda that the British state has aimed at the proletariat. They take working class voices lending support to reactionary ideals as gospel, while ignoring that this is not a universal view. Dissenting and marginalised voices are ignored, especially those within BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities.
There can be no capitulation to reaction in the fight for trans rights, or the rights of any other group who face oppression for their existence.