JENNI MURRAY: Why won't ANY party stand up for the rights of women?

JENNI MURRAY: Why won’t ANY party stand up for the rights of women?

  • Jenni reflects on the treatment of those who hold ‘gender critical’ views
  • READ MORE:  First they came for celebrities like JK Rowling, but that wasn’t enough, say those who find themselves on the frontline of the gender debate war

Let me begin by saying I have no political affiliation with any party. A lifetime of indoctrination by the BBC means I never reveal to anyone where I will put my cross.

Nevertheless, when I was invited in July to chair a panel for Liberal Voice for Women at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Bournemouth this month, I said yes.

Like me, the members of the group were what’s now known as ‘gender-critical’. In other words, they are determined to support women who cannot accept that trans women are women, agree that you cannot change your sex and want to ensure that women and girls retain their rights to single-sex spaces, toilets, changing rooms and sport.

The panel they had chosen was impressive. The film-maker, Vaishnavi Sundar, would talk about the trans movement in India.

From the Dominican Republic, Raquel Rosario Sanchez — an academic who unsuccessfully sued the University of Bristol for negligence after she was bullied by trans activists ahead of hosting a talk — would speak about her work on the protection of women’s sex-based rights, and also the trans community in her home country.

Jenni was shocked to hear that an academic who was was researching the silencing of female academics who raise questions about gender identity was herself cancelled (stock image used)

Thirdly, we would hear from Dr Laura Favaro, who is trying to raise the cash to take City, University of London to an employment tribunal. She lost her job because she had been researching the silencing of female academics who raise questions about gender identity. 

She was cancelled as she tried to find the facts about how widespread cancellation and lack of free speech on this issue were in academia.

I assumed this event would take place as a fringe event at the main Lib Dem conference centre. Wrong. We had to hold our discussion in a hotel which was a ten-minute walk from the centre.

Liberal Voice for Women had asked for a paid-for advert for their event in the official conference programme. The request was refused.

The group had tried on numerous occasions to have permission to exhibit at conference. They had applied for some years to be given the status of ‘party body’, which would enable them to buy an exhibition stand, as the water boards and gas companies do.

But for that, Liberal Voice for Women would need to be an ‘affiliated organisation’ and list the names of all their members. Given the febrile nature of the debate, understandably some members wish to remain anonymous.

Interestingly, there is another group within the party called Lib Dem Women, who are officially an ‘affiliated organisation’. They, funnily enough, totally embrace the ‘Trans Women Are Women’ line.

Juliet Line, a Lib Dem party member and now active participant in Liberal Voice for Women, was refused membership of Lib Dem Women because she could not support the fact that they had written ‘Trans Women Are Women’ into their constitution. She was told she could join if she would agree with this statement.

What sort of group demands members openly deny their true beliefs?

I was reminded this weekend of a similar incident around the time of last year’s Labour conference in Liverpool. 

Jenni writes that it is possible to change the way you look and behave, adopting a different gender, but it is not possible to change your sex

The Labour Women’s Declaration group, like Liberal Voice for Women, aims to promote its view that women’s sex-based rights must not be eroded by those based on gender identity. They had asked for a stand at conference at which they could exhibit their views. They were refused.

I should have clocked that sensible discussion about women’s sex-based rights wouldn’t be welcome at a Party that’s not so ‘liberal’.

Earlier this year, on LBC radio, the Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey gave a bizarre answer to the question of what a woman is. Women ‘quite clearly’ can have a penis, he said. Pull the other one, Sir Ed.

But it’s not only the Liberal and Labour parties that simply won’t engage with this question in the run-up to a General Election. The Conservatives seem to be as stuck.

For months we’ve been waiting for the Education Secretary to issue guidance to schools on how to handle the increasing number of children questioning their identity. 

Should toilets be single-sex? Should parents be informed if their son suddenly becomes a daughter? Teachers have been left to flounder, finally getting some guidance not from the Government, but from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Maybe they’ll look at all this more coolly now they know the census got the numbers wrong. The figure of 262,000 transgender people in England and Wales has since been shown, by an official inquiry, to be ‘hugely overstated’.

I don’t see the trans community as a whole as my enemy. But too many politicians seem afraid to confront what the rest of us, not in thrall to the powerful, aggressive trans lobby, know to be the truth.

This is the most important political issue of our time. Biology is scientific fact. It is possible to change the way you look and behave, adopting a different gender, but it is not possible to change your sex, and 51 per cent of the population — women — will not have hard-won rights taken away.

And remember, all of you hoping for a seat in Parliament next time around, you won’t get my X if you don’t respect my sex.

78 and she can still do the splits!

Performing on Strictly Come Dancing with professional dancer Kai Widdrington, Angela Rippon proves that age is just a number

I was so scared on Saturday night. I’d backed Angela Rippon as a Strictly winner. Would she let me down?

No! She had rhythm, elegance and the brightest smile in her dazzling frock. And oh! That leg! 78 years old and she can still do the splits.

Am I jealous? You bet!

Whatever the cost, we must have HS2

For years I endured the nightmare of the awful West Coast Line. HS2, I thought, would be great. Fast, smooth, reliable.

This toing and froing is crazy. How could the country that introduced Stephenson’s Rocket fail to build a 21st-century rail link?

What of the cost to North Londoners who lost their homes and businesses for a station at Euston that might not now materialise? Or people in the North-West who’ve feared the loss of their homes for years?

Go, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham. Make them do it. Whatever the cost.

When it was ‘Barbenheimer’ and some chose to see both blockbusters, I went for Oppenheimer, thinking Barbie was bound to be rubbish. 

It might have taken the box office by storm, but the Barbie film released this summer did nothing for Jenni

Friends said it was fun. When it came up on TV I paid £19.99 to watch it. What a waste of money. 

Jenni’s teenage hero David McCallum

My teen crush: a Russian spy

It was 1964. I was 14 and I fell hopelessly in love.

The object of my enduring passion was secret agent Illya Kuryakin, from the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E., played by the utterly gorgeous David McCallum. 

For four years I never missed an episode. Now he’s gone at the age of 90. RIP my teenage hero.

I’m banned from my kitchen again. Zoriana, my Ukrainian refugee, is back, leaving her son, Ustym, at medical school in Lviv. 

She begins a degree course today, is looking for a part-time job and, meanwhile, cooks pancakes and borscht. 

She’s also thrown away all the out-of-date rubbish from the fridge. She has not yet called me slovenly. Maybe her English doesn’t extend quite that far. No doubt it will. Must buck up. 

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