Lisa Nandy’s views on gay and trans rights spark debates

Labour MP Lisa Nandy (Photo: Darren Staples/Getty Images)
Labour MP Lisa Nandy (Photo: Darren Staples/Getty Images)

LABOUR leadership candidate Lisa Nandy has been busy with LGBTQ issues over the past few days.

The first one cropped up over an article the Wigan MP had written as a student editor in 2001.

A Sunday Times article (16) article highlighted that Nandy had articulated against funding of certain students’ societies, and particularly pointed at gay clubs not permitting straight students.

As deputy editor of Newcastle University newspaper The Courier, Nandy had written: “But what about societies that are controversial, whose views some might find offensive? Should they receive money — or at least as much money as others? The LGB [lesbian, gay, bisexual] Society for example, doesn’t accept straight members but we still have to pay for it, something many find unacceptable.”

Nandy, 40, however, dismissed the insinuation. “I am a staunch defender of LGBTQ rights, I always have been and I always will be,” she said.

“I wrote about a debate around top down or grassroots funding at my uni almost 20 years ago, like a lot of student journalists do.

“The suggestion that I would do anything other than encourage greater understanding and tolerance is daft and offensive.”

Then came a row over her stance that trans prisoners—including violent sex offenders—should be housed in jails based on the gender they transition to.

Nandy was asked at a campaign rally whether violent male sexual offenders who transition should be sent to women’s prisons.

She replied: “I believe fundamentally in people’s right to self-ID.

“I believe the Gender Recognition Act strikes the wrong balance in relation to that.

“I think that crimes that are recorded should be recorded as that person wishes, having gone through that process, received support and self-identified.

“I think trans women are women, I think trans men are men, so I think they should be accommodated in a prison of their choosing.”

The audience applauded, but critics of the idea were not pleased. They felt such a move could place female inmates under potential threat.

Nandy’s stance created a buzz, especially since a critic referred to the case of a man who transitioned to a woman, after being jailed for five counts of child rape.

Notably, Nandy had last week joined fellow leadership contender Rebecca Long Bailey in backing the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights, which wanted to “organise and fight against transphobic organisations such as Woman’s Place UK, LGB Alliance and other trans-exclusionist hate groups”.

Woman’s Place UK, which aims to “ensure that women’s voices are heard and our sex based rights upheld”, termed the campaign’s accusation “defamatory”.

The third candidate for Labour leadership, Keir Starmer, had declined to back the campaign.