Yesterday, LGBT Labour decisively fought off an attempt to take over its national executive by a “slate” describing itself as “United Left”. Just what unites the United Left is, has never been crystal clear but their website does explain that they are a group supporting Corbyn.
One of the problems with a slate such as this taking control of a group such as LGBT Labour is that it would effectively stop LGBT Labour being LGBT Labour and instead turn it into a Corbyn cheerleading group which also sometimes talks about LGBT issues. I can’t think of a better way to kill it off.
LGBT Labour is a group whose work is primarily set up to ensure that LGBT issues get included in the Labour Party and through that, in the country as a whole, many on the national exec worked tirelessly to get equal marriage legislation through with a significant majority, since it was Labour MPs votes wot won it.
Any subordination to some other aim, such as propping up an increasingly unpopular and ineffective leadership, risks delegitimising and marginalising it. The need for LGBT Labour to have a measure of independence from the leadership was emphasized by Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the start of LGBT History Month this year.
Not only did he fail to mention “transphobia” when he mentioned “homophobia” but he described being gay as a lifestyle choice. Some have pointed to his support for gay (what about trans…?) rights when it was not fashionable, but if he really was an ally to LGB people (never mind T people) then he would have been aware of how important it was to get the language right.
This is why an independent LGBT Labour is vital.
Yet it is a mark of how riven with factionalism that the Labour Party has become under Corbyn’s “leadership” that this sort of inappropriate takeover attempt has even been considered. It is also a sign that some Corbyn supporters are prepared to ride roughshod over the needs of minority groups in order to further its aim of propping up its failing figurehead.
The fact that they appear to be prepared to relegate to secondary the voices of LGBT people suggests that some factions still regard politics through the eyes of a kind of cisgender-heterosexual “brocialism”.