JULIE BINDEL: If Starmer won't stand for women, I'll never vote Labour

If gutless Keir Starmer doesn’t stand up for women on the trans issue, I’ll never vote Labour again, writes JULIE BINDEL

As far back as September of last year, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer refused to accept that ‘only women have a cervix’.

Six months later, asked multiple times on a radio phone-in show whether ‘a woman can have a penis’, he repeatedly refused to commit himself.

And last week, in response to the Scottish Parliament’s passing of Nicola Sturgeon’s heinous Gender Recognition Reform Bill, it was revealed that — if Labour won power — he would change the law to allow trans people to self-identify their gender.

For a man who has always claimed to be a fearless opponent of male violence against women, this represents a shameful abdication of responsibility.

Responding to the Scottish Parliament’s passing of Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill, it was revealed that — if Labour won power — Keir Starmer would change the law to allow trans people to self-identify their gender

The truth is Starmer is nothing more than a coward. At a time when millions need his support more than ever, he has shown himself to be entirely gutless.

Troubling

To most people in Britain, and certainly those who come, as I do, from no-nonsense backgrounds where we don’t mince our words, it shouldn’t need saying that men can’t transform into women just by declaring a desire to switch sex.

But, incredibly, that’s now the legal situation north of the border, as the new legislation enables people to self-identify as their chosen gender without a medical diagnosis.

As the author and courageous voice of common sense J.K. Rowling pungently puts it: ‘All a man needs to “become a woman” is to say he’s one.’

It is one thing for a person who has thought deeply about transitioning, lived for an extended period in the gender of their choice, engaged in hormone treatment and undergone gender reassignment surgery to be accepted as a trans man or woman.

Women rights protestor reacts after the bill passes, by lifting up her skirtwhilst shouting out

But quite another for someone who remains to all intents and purposes a member of the biological sex into which they were born to demand the same rights and privileges.

In an equally troubling move, the law backed by First Minister Sturgeon has reduced the minimum age for changing gender from 18 to 16, and cut the waiting time for a ‘gender recognition certificate’ from two years to six months (for over-18s).

The Conservative Government will consider blocking the Scottish ruling, with the Scottish Secretary Alister Jack pointing out that he could invoke section 35 of the Scotland Act, which would have the effect of denying it royal assent.

But instead of siding with women and coming out in support of the Westminster Government, Labour has criticised No 10 for undermining the parliament at Holyrood.

This is not merely Starmer playing party politics by opposing the Tories as a knee-jerk reaction; this is championing the feelings of men over the most basic rights of women.

I don’t for a moment believe that Starmer thinks a man becomes a woman through the power of a piece of paper and a repeated chant of the magical words: ‘Trans women are women.’

Anyone of basic intelligence knows that is fundamentally wrong — and the Labour leader’s intelligence is far more than basic. I know, because I worked alongside him when he was Director of Public Prosecutions more than a decade ago.

Back then, he was intent on protecting women by improving the conviction rates for rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and murder.

We trusted him. He made inroads and helped shift perceptions. Yet now he supports a law that can force a rape victim to refer to her male attacker as a woman, and even require that the court talks about ‘her penis’.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon listening to Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison during the debate on the controversial Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill

It’s obscene, it’s insulting and it declares that, in the eyes of the law, even the vilest man matters more than any woman.

I am sure that in his heart of hearts Starmer knows things have gone too far. But he is trapped inside the trans cult and lacks the courage to stand up to the bullies who scream ‘trans-phobe’ at anyone who attempts to counter their claims.

It’s an ideology in which gender identity trumps biological sex, where a man can commit a sexual assault and then, after announcing that he identifies as a woman, have his offences recorded as a female crime.

If Starmer attempts to row back on all this, he will be lambasted as a heretic. As with any cult, a special level of hatred is reserved for any disillusioned adherent who turns against the one true faith.

This is a tragedy, not just for him, but for millions of women who look to Labour to defend our sex-based rights.

That is not because we believe all men are rapists, child abusers or wife beaters. It’s because we know that a minority of men are — and that puts all women at risk.

We need safe spaces: rape crisis centres and women’s hostels where biological men are banned, no matter what gender they claim to be.

And because predatory men using the cloak of gender self-identification could present themselves as female and find their way into women’s changing rooms in shops and sports facilities; women’s toilets in theatres and shopping centres; or girls’ schools and women’s prisons; these also have to be designated as safe and protected spaces.

Despise

As a lawyer, Starmer knows only too well that some men will target those places if they get the opportunity.

But trans activists have taken control of Labour now. Some of them are naive, muddled young people. Others are stuck in the past, convinced that the campaign for ‘trans rights’ is an extension of the battle to ensure equal rights for gay men and women in the 1980s, at the height of the Aids epidemic.

But some are just misogynists. There has always been an undercurrent of Left-wing men who despise women. They hate us for opposing their use of pornography and the sex trade. The trans movement gives them the opportunity to vent that hatred.

Julie Bindel (pictured) said: ‘We need safe spaces: rape crisis centres and women’s hostels where biological men are banned, no matter what gender they claim to be’

When I was a Labour activist, fighting the Conservatives over the iniquitous Section 28 laws that demonised gay people, I met plenty of those Left-wing men — the ones who told me that what most lesbians like me needed was a night with the right man. That’s putting it politely: they used cruder language.

Those men haven’t gone away. They call themselves trans activists now, and their loathing of women is no longer hidden.

For all these reasons, I feel bitterly let down, not just by a man I knew and admired when he was one of the country’s most senior lawyers, but by the Labour Party at large.

Fear

Those are words I never thought I’d write, because I’m old-fashioned Labour through and through.

My socialist politics were bred into me by a proud union activist father on a Darlington housing estate in the 1970s, where I grew up surrounded by family and friends who were Labour to the core.

But I will not trust Labour again, unless the leadership states clearly and unequivocally that trans women are not real women. The word ‘woman’ is already taken, and men can’t have it.

At the last local election, I did something I’ve never done before. Instead of voting Labour, I spoiled my ballot paper — and I wrote the reason across it.

My father, who died this year aged 86, understood why I could never vote Labour as long as it refused to back women. Dedicated union man that he was, Labour to his bones, he shared my fear that Keir Starmer is a capitulator.

If the man who wants to be Britain’s next Prime Minister can’t stand up to the trans-rights bullies, who else will he be afraid to confront? How will he cope with international crises or institutional cover-ups?

Brave men make hard choices and, if he wants my vote, and the votes of tens of millions of women who share my sense of betrayal, Starmer must find his backbone.

  • Julie Bindel is the author of Feminism For Women: The Real Route To Liberation, published by Constable Press.

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