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LABOUR’S EMILY BROTHERS RESPONDS TO COLUMNIST ATTACKS ON TRANS PEOPLE

WEDNESDAY 27 JANUARY 2016 – IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Labour’s London Assembly Candidate, Emily Brothers, has spoken out against recent attacks on the trans community by leading newspaper columnists. Ms Brothers who ‘came out’ in December 2014 whilst a Parliamentary Candidate in Sutton and Cheam for Labour, responded to attacks by Richard Littlejohn in The Daily Mail and Jeremey Clarkson in The Sunday Times. She said:
“A step-change in gender diversity has taken to seed with the recent findings from the Women and Equalities Committee. It probably isn’t going to be a game-changer, but it certainly provides the roots from which progress can flourish.
“Whilst the Committee’s Chair, Maria Miller may be surprised by the backlash from old-guard feminists, that isn’t so for trans people. Whilst negativity and out-right opposition hasn’t been as widespread as many of us may have feared, let’s not be in any doubt about the resistance to social change that exists. Indeed, Germaine Greer and her disciples are probably lurking around the corner.
“In the meantime, two gallant adversaries have stepped forward like eunuchs from an ancient court to defend the honor of Trans Exclusionary Feminists. It may actually suggest the hostility of Trans Exclusionary Feminists could be withering away, when Richard Littlejohn and Jeremy Clarkson are left to take up their cause.
“Expressing their hatred may be considered by some as a legitimate pursuit, but the impact can be devastating on people struggling with their gender identity, as well as their families and friends. The ‘fake regulator, known as the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) fails to recognise the impact on groups of people, only focusing on named indibviduals.
“Columnists and their editors too often discard any sense of responsibility. The old adage that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me’ is nonsense, as they do hurt so many people
“Let’s not forget that it was Mr Littlejohn’s column that humiliated Lucy Meadows three years ago, tragically leading to her suicide.
More recently in The Daily Mail, Mr Littlejohn distorts jihadist terrorist sneaking over Middle Eastern borders with the dignity of trans people to freely travel. With barometric passports and diversity of people’s presentation, gender markers aren’t necessary. Their absence isn’t going to create airport chaos, nor a rampage of cross dressing transgender terrorists.
“As a Labour politician it isn’t often that I defend a Tory. Maria Miller’s past misdemeanors over expenses have been dealt with, losing her Cabinet seat. That has nothing to do with the recent Commons report on gender identity. Littlejohn’s attack is just another cheap and nasty character assassination in a desperate effort to undermine the report’s legitimate findings.
“Jeremey Clarkson, in his latest diatribe in The Sunday Times, brushes aside the deep rooted feelings of some children by castigating their parents for ‘indulging their whims’.
“There is no evidence that any parent pursues a ‘lunatic life’ just to ‘poison the mind of a child’ about gender transition. No parent is asking doctors to ‘lop off his todger’, nor is there evidence of many people regretting their transition. However, we have significant evidence of people taking their lives or contemplating suicide because they feel trapped, unable to be their true selves.
“Clarkson doesn’t have the faintest idea of the tough journey people go through. That was so evident in December 2011 when he commented on The One Show about train delays owing to incidents when people have taken their lives. He said: ‘Trains should resume their journey as soon as possible following a suicide and leave the body parts for scavenging animals.’
“These interventions are cheap, nasty and beyond the pale, but columnists like Littlejohn and Clarkson still persist with their mindless rants – encouraged by their editors. If their child was trans or gay, I suspect they would turn their back and not care that suicide might be a consequence.
“Yet there is hope with the coverage of the Women and Equalities Report, as much of the media has taken an inquiring approach, if not enthusiastically supporting the recommendations. At least there is growing recognition that society is embracing difference.
“Indeed, ‘a seismic shift in attitudes is occurring’ when I give The Sun credit for an informative and rational piece in yesterday’s edition. Lizzie Pook explains the emergence of gender fluidity and society’s changing perceptions. The change in tone is very welcome, but wouldn’t have happened without some of us challenging past prejudices and others seeking to educate. Polly Toynbee’s recent endeavor in The Guardian is a good example of encouraging feminists to ‘welcome anyone into the sisterhood, which is already furiously diverse.’ That would indeed be progress, but it will have to be accompanied by fairer portrayal in the media.

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