Rosie Duffield: I don’t talk about trans rights because it’s not my place

The Labour MP said trans rights are the same rights as everyone else’s.

Geraldine Scott
Monday 29 November 2021 10:30 GMT
Labour MP for Canterbury Rosie Duffield (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Labour MP for Canterbury Rosie Duffield (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

A Labour MP insisted she is not transphobic as she said it is not her place to speak on trans issues since it is not her “lived experience”.

Rosie Duffield has come under fire for her opposition to “male-bodied biological men” being allowed to self-identify as female in order to access women-only spaces such as prisons and domestic violence refuges.

But in an interview with Gloria De Piero to be broadcast on GB News on Monday, the MP for Canterbury said it is misogynistic that her opinions and views on trans issues have been “framed by a man who tweeted”.

Labour MP Rosie Duffield (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Labour MP Rosie Duffield (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Ms Duffield, who also spoke about being a victim of domestic abuse, said: “I’m not remotely transphobic. I can’t imagine wanting to discriminate or hate a group of people just for who they are and how they want to live.”

But she said: “I don’t talk about trans rights because I think it’s not my place to talk about trans rights. Trans people have got some great organisations and they’re very good at representing their rights, and that is just as it should be.

“Trans rights are the same rights as everyone else, but what concerns me is that there is a slight conflict in some cases between trans rights and women’s rights.

“Women’s rights are why I came to Parliament, and why I’m sitting here, because women are now visible in Parliament.

“I grew up in a very strong feminist household, and what really concerns me are the rights of women to have privacy and space, and the necessity to be in women’s refuge – not shared with someone with a male body.”

She said she is also an ally for trans people.

“I am an ally, in my mind. I really am. I want to be. I have trans friends, and I speak to trans people. And yes, I’m not Jewish, and I stood up for Jewish people in the antisemitic row, but I also don’t want to get it wrong.”

A Trans Pride campaigner in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)
A Trans Pride campaigner in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Archive)

Ms Duffield said she “sometimes” wishes she had never waded in to the debate, but added: “I think I just saw all this hatred towards other women who were speaking about it, and I didn’t really open my mouth.

“I liked a man’s tweet, and, since I liked a man’s tweet, more has been written about my opinion than I had any idea about.

“I’ve very rarely spoken in my own voice about it, very rarely. I’m starting to now, but, for a whole year and a bit, the argument about me being a transphobe was framed by a man who tweeted, and I liked it.

“So, there were reams written about what a transphobe I was – what I thought, what I said – I hadn’t said or thought any of those things. But that is misogyny, because I hadn’t opened my own female mouth on it; I had liked a man’s tweet and all kinds of people were telling the world what I thought and what I believed.”

Ms Duffield also told Ms De Piero about her experience as a victim of domestic violence, and how she was scared to offer an opinion to her ex-partner in case he would “just explode”.

In 2019 Ms Duffield gave a powerful speech to the House of Commons on the issue, during debates on the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Speaking to Ms De Piero, she said her former partner “made it very clear that it wouldn’t take much for him to snap me like a twig, really, or to properly hurt me”.

And she added: “He did take control in situations where, I mean, there are laws against it – that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

She said at first she had not realised that the relationship was abusive, but, when she began adding up comments made and situations, she “realised that so many people were raising red flags and saying that they weren’t comfortable”.

“I just kept doubting myself and my instincts, which I shouldn’t have done, but my friends and my mum were kind of reaffirming that actually – my instincts were right,” she said.

“Eventually I realised I just couldn’t carry on being frightened in my own home anymore.”

– The full interview with Rosie Duffield is due to be broadcast on GB News at 12.30pm.

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