WITH gender very much on the political agenda, TCWDF asked Sir Keir Starmer one straightforward question: Can a man be a woman? We print his reply in full.
First, thank you for the question. Increasingly this, or similar are being asked, not just of myself but politicians across the spectrum. I think that is a good thing, and I would ask that people also question themselves, because diversity, equality, opportunities and inclusivity are not just words, they are a means to an end, a beginning leading to an end. As someone wiser than myself so presciently observed: ‘Every long march begins with small steps.’
Under my stewardship I would like to think that the Labour Party is indeed on a long gender fluid march. A march which will culminate in an end to the obsession with categorisation and compartmentalising that scars the society we live in.
Every day, in every walk of life, young or old, rich or poor, humanity is forced to define itself. I see it regularly at first hand in my constituency with working-class people forced into making difficult choices.
Is that a cortado or flat white? Is that kale or collard greens? Is it a bird or is it a plane? These questions bedevil society, they create divisions, antagonism and drive hatred, and so it is with gender identification, why do we insist on labelling people?
Labour is a broad church and as Minister (so to speak), it is incumbent on me to heal and lead from the front. From a position of trust, from a position of authority, from a position of knowledge. We have evolved as a political party and society must also not stand still. Evolution is not a dirty word.
Of course, in bygone days people felt comfortable with recognising just two genders, male and female, but now, thankfully, those blinkered, outmoded and frankly upsetting views no longer hold sway, and I for one say hallelujah, about time too.
Just remember this, at one time there would have been only two bicycles in Beijing but look how much better things are with nine million. And they are not all the same. Take saddles alone and rejoice in the variety, comfort, cutaway, no nose, composite, sport, soft, extra wide and yes, unisex.
When I think of gender I think variety, and variety is the spice of life. Let us celebrate all aspects of gender like we do bicycle saddles. It really doesn’t matter if you are agender, androgyne, bigender, cisgender, gender outlaw, genderqueer, non-binary, omnigender, pangender or transgender.You are what you feel, and society must accept that. A man can be a woman and a woman can be a man, of course, why not?
So called scientists drone on about genetics and biology but what do they really know? You hear words such as cervix, womb and occasionally testicles, but these are just words, they don’t mean anything, and people are now waking up to that fact. Similarly, is it the sun that rises in the morning or it is the moon? Is rain really wet or is that just a perception? I like to think that I am a modern person and as such am always open to questioning the status quo.
Let us not be deluded into thinking that this conundrum is a recent issue. For many years there were clues dotted all around, but you had to be astute enough to see them. That wonderful read Middlemarch, for instance, was it George Eliot or Mary Ann Evans? What about those trailblazing pioneers of cross dressers, men willing to subject themselves to the obloquy and ridicule that was heaped on them at the time? I am thinking not just of Dick Emery and Danny La Rue but also of that talented artiste Stanley Baxter. These are real heroes in my opinion; they deserve the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.
Labour (and we might need to re-think that word) is very much in the vanguard of recognising the shifting sands of gender. Personally, I look forward to the day when I can feel the cool gel being rubbed across my lower abdomen prior to the ultrasound operative guiding the sensor carefully across my belly. As I gaze expectantly at the monitor, the sense of pride I will get from seeing a half-digested Gregg’s pasty will be something special.
To any wavering voters out there, unsure of where to place their cross on the ballot paper, I say these simple comforting words:
A man is a woman, a woman is a man, a finger of fudge is just enough, go to work on an egg, let the train take the strain, do the shake and vac and put the freshness back.
I hope this clarifies both my and the Labour Party’s position once and for all.