We have written to Angela Eagle to respond to some of her comments made during LGBT Labour’s fringe event at the Labour Party Conference, Monday 2nd October, 14:00
“There is no such thing as gender ideology”
Gender ideology does exist and there are academic sociologists who have specialised in its study  dating back to the 1930s. However, like so many terms, its meaning has been expanded in recent years. Not least, it is now used as shorthand for “…gender identity ideology, the idea that what it is to be a woman/female (man/male) is to identify as a woman/female (man/male), and that this subjective identification supersedes facts about sex class membership” (Holly Lawford-Smith, Gender-Critical Feminism, OUP 2022). Or as Jane Clare Jones (2023) writes: “a belief system… the core claim of which is that being a man or a woman is a matter of gender identity rather than biological sex” (in Sex and Gender, Alice Sullivan & Selina Todd, Routledge).
It is our contention that these definitions capture the fundamental belief of those who maintain that everyone has an inner ‘gender identity’ that can override the sex they are registered at birth. To suggest that there is no such thing as a gender ideology calls into question why trans rights are advanced so frequently and often to the exclusion of LGB rights. If there is no such thing, why is it so important to you to reiterate its existence?
It also calls into question what queer theory is all about, if there is no gender ideology.
“Inclusive RSE materials in schools are being presented as unsuitable. This is not true.”
Miriam Cates, a Tory MP has raised the issues around the unregulated nature of RSE material in schools, often ‘taught’ by non professionals who claim incorrectly, to be approved by OFSTED. In your speech you said her comments were untrue. The following quote from @SaferSchoolsAlliance refers to one such organisation, Educate and Celebrate, funded by Durham County Council and operating in Primary and Secondary Schools across County Durham.
“The CEO of Educate and Celebrate, Elly Barnes, promotes a particular agenda, unquestioningly accepting trans ideology and calling for teachers to “smash heteronormativity“. Any school signing up to her organisation is, de facto, also promoting this agenda. Dr Barnes’ advice for schools who think that parents may not appreciate this is to tell them to be secretive about what they are teaching children. This is an anti-safeguarding approach and antithetical to the best interests of children.”
We could have chosen any one of several organisations operating in schools across the United Kingdom where teachers, already overburdened with teaching the national curriculum, have outsourced RSE lessons to unregulated providers who are, in the main, transgender activists who do not base their material on science or fact. Parents quite rightly have started to question why they are not allowed to see the material used or why their objections to their child possibly being ‘born in the wrong body’ have often been met with silence from teachers. We have no doubt there is a similar organisation operating in schools in your constituency and we are surprised you have not been approached by unhappy parents wanting to discuss their concerns.
“Books are being removed from libraries which is tantamount to book burning.”
Apparently you are questioning the recent publicity about particular books being removed from Public Libraries.
These posts are from X (screenshot below) and as you are a regular contributor to the platform we are surprised you were not aware that women across the country have discovered books written by Helen Joyce, Kathleen Stock, Hannah Barnes and others have been removed from shelves in Public Libraries. Women were asked to check if the Libraries in their areas had also removed books and many found they had. The idea that books containing factual information, based on thorough research and sound evidence, should not be available because they might upset someone flies in the face of free speech.
Some Libraries admitted that books written by the authors named were not on open display and would have to be requested. Other Libraries have not responded to requests for information.
“We can only move forward by making connections”
We established Lesbian Labour three years ago and one of the first things we did was write to the Chair of LGBT+Labour asking for a meeting so we could talk about the experience of Lesbians who were suffering discrimination and homophobia. The response we got was rude and made it clear there would be no meeting. We have contacted LGBT+Labour at other times since but have never received a reply. Lesbian Labour has emailed you, firstly three years ago when we asked if you would be our patron and at regular intervals since. We have never received a reply to any of our emails and when one of our members met you at Conference you made it clear you strongly objected to these emails and had no intention of responding. You referred to the member of Lesbian Labour as “anti-trans” and turned your back on her. So who is it you would like to connect with? We understand from other Gay and LGB Groups that you have also refused to meet them too. Is this a permissible response for a parliamentary representative?
“There are those who seek to divide. They are a tiny minority”
We suggest it is you who seek to divide, as per our above response to “We can only move forward by making connections”. We seek to clarify and uphold single sex and same-sex protections, where relevant to our lives, a position deemed worthy of respect in a democratic society by a UK employment tribunal – but not worthy of respect in the Labour Party, it seems.
Voicing concerns about the impact of gender identity upon single-sex services is not seeking to divide. Objecting to rapists being housed in women’s prisons is not seeking to divide. Wishing to speak openly and honestly about male-bodied people in women’s sports or men in Lesbian spaces is not seeking to divide. Empathising with orthodox Jewish and conservative Muslim women who are excluded by faith from mixed-sex spaces is not seeking to divide.
Further, we do not believe we represent a minority view. The growing number of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual groups [2; 3] whose members share our views, would tend to indicate otherwise. We are also contacted frequently by people still too afraid to speak up and/or attend in-person events. Aforementioned authors have variously achieved Sunday Times bestseller status, and shortlisting for the Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction 2023 – this is not suggestive of a minority view.
“Section 28 was about forbidding any education or promotion of LGBT lives”
Factually incorrect. Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 sought to prohibit the promotion of homosexuality. The law makes no mention of trans or LGBT, only homosexuality. In other words, no people were discriminated against for being trans by Section 28 – only LGB people. Accuracy with language is important.
“Look at the archives. Know your history”
This is not much use when it is being rewritten. Our history was Gay and Lesbian only and the struggle for each was unique and specific. Bisexuals were added in the 1990s. To present our history as anything otherwise denies the evidence of the onward march of progress.
A prominent example of the re-writing of our history is the often repeated lie that a transwoman “threw the first brick” at the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969. The riots actually began when a butch Lesbian, reported by several people to be Stormé DeLarverie was arrested violently by the police and incited the watching crowd by saying “Why don’t you guys do something!”
Fred Sargeant who was present on the night of the first riot, has given his eyewitness account and spoken extensively about the revisionism underway.
Fred’s own website states his “concern that the historical record of the late 60s and early 70s had undergone a significant change that erased the prominent figures and their contributions as well as the primary role of same-sex activism during that period.”
Speaking of Archives; The national Lesbian Archives were deposited for safekeeping in the Glasgow Feminist Library. The Archives used to be referenced on the Library’s website and some of the material was on display but at some point recently our Archives were put away and attempts to access them has been refused. A report from the campaign group Scottish Lesbians describes their visit to the Library and the disappointment they felt that the Lesbian Archives were no longer open to Lesbians.
Are you aware of the Lesbian Archives? Would you lend your voice to a campaign by Lesbians Groups to move the Archives to a new home where their importance and value will be respected and they will be available for Lesbian researchers?
“Our opponents are funded by the far right and are Christian fundamentalists”
This is a lazy, oft repeated line without any evidence proffered – because there isn’t any. There is in fact an independent opposition voice that has nothing to do with far-right groups. We are members of the Labour Party, past and present. We are same-sex attracted females, some of us hold elected positions in the Labour Party and Local Government. In terms of funding, Lesbian Labour, like other Lesbian campaigning groups, have no funding other than that put in by members of our Team and cash collected in buckets at events.
Neither are the plethora of new women’s rights groups, the LGB Alliance, or the Gay Men’s Network funded by the far right or Christian fundamentalists. Not one shred of evidence had been put forward to support this slur.
You are a long-standing MP, currently the Chair of the National Executive’s Equalities Committee, a woman with power and influence in the Labour Party. A patron of LGBT+Labour, an Affiliated Organisation that has publicly told us that we have a problem with our sexual boundaries. LGBT+Labour apparently no longer supports same-sex attracted homosexuals and, having listened to your speech, we realise neither do you. Many LGB people have said they will not be voting Labour at the General Election because Labour is no longer the party of equality and it has failed to acknowledge the conflict between sex and sexual orientation and gender ideology, a conflict that brings with it rising homophobia and the discrimination against Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals.
Lesbian Labour and other LGB campaigning groups deserve to be heard by you and the wider Labour Party, we make up over 3% of the population in the UK. If you refuse to listen then many will refuse to vote Labour.
 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781405165518.wbeosg019, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0020715215625726, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B0080430767039620
 The group Scottish Lesbians presented their new report Lesbians Coming Out at Filia 2023 (12th-15th Oct) in Glasgow. It provides a snapshot of contemporary Lesbian lives by means of information gathered through a questionnaire. Strikingly, even though the questions did not mention gender, 82% of Lesbian respondents raised the topic of gender as having a negative impact on their experiences of coming out.