PODCAST [TRANSCRIBED] – Election Special

On this entirely exciting episode, Ashleigh and Alyx talk about:

  • Kier Starmer’s inconsistent statements on trans people.
  • Victor Madrigal-Borloz’s report on the EHRC. 
  • And, of course, the upcoming UK general election, We speak to: Steph Richards, CEO of Translucent and Labour Party activist, Charley Hasted, Chair of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats and Ani Stafford Townsend, an openly trans Green Party candidate for Bristol East.

Tactical voting guide: https://stopthetories.vote/


The Yes, Prime Minister clip Alyx referred to

Kier Starmer

Keir Starmer suggests trans women use hospital ‘side rooms’ instead of women’s wards

Tony Blair weighs in on trans rights: ‘A woman is with a vagina’

Keir Starmer applauded after slamming Rishi Sunak trans joke on BBC Question Time

Keir Starmer says Labour would end ‘divisive’ Tory culture wars: ‘People are exhausted’



Ashleigh: One sec.

Alyx: Is it getting a bit warm in your room as well?

Ashleigh: It very much is, yeah.

Alyx: Yeah I’m just like [sighs]

Ashleigh: [fans self] There we go. I’ll use the letters my dentist sends me.

[intro music]

Ashleigh: Well hello everybody and welcome to this, another episode of What The Trans?!

Alyx: What The Trans?!

Ashleigh: That’s right, it’s us, we’re back, oh yeah, it’s your birthday.

Alyx: Woo!

Ashleigh: I mean it might be somebody’s birthday and if that’s the case, happy birthday darling. But yes, how are you?

Alyx: I’m doing well. It’s a lovely Sunday afternoon, I’m a bit knackered, I’ve been out and about around town as one might say or the proverbial version of “town” for us, which is Essex Pride just down the road from me. It’s been great to see a whole bunch of trans people and Pride in your own town. I’ve only been once before I even came out of the closet and it’s just great to see Pride in your own town.

Ashleigh: Yeah, I always forget because in Manchester the big Pride parade does go down Princes Street which is just off where I used to live so I just needed to get outside the front door and just walk a bit up the road and I would see this huge big procession, standing in place and watching the parade go by is a couple of hours’ worth, really. So Princes Street which is normally quite rainy, as Manchester so often is, which is suddenly bedecked with colourful things, colourful people and loud music and it’s wonderful to watch that transformation.

Alyx: It’s going to be an interesting experience when we try to cover London Pride again this year.

Ashleigh: Is there anything else that dashing, young tran about town Alyx has been getting up to?

Alyx: Oh I’ve been to another town as well, some were a bit further away than just a few steps down the road, went over the English Channel straight to Berlin for a weekend.

Ashleigh: Just this small little place, you might have heard of it, Berlin. So what did you get up to?

Alyx: Not much, we saw the sights, we went to see Brandenburg Gate, some of the memorials, some of the Berlin Wall. All kinds of stuff, tried a good bit of bratwurst and it was quite alright from the ones we went at. You know those crap sausages you get from hot dogs.

Ashleigh: Yeah, sausage in a bun. And in Germany it’s this whole, they really know what they’re doing with their sausage.

[circus music playing]

Alyx: I won’t judge your experiences of German sausage.

[percussive sting as punchline sound and laughter]

Ashleigh: Mm. All varied and glorious. But speaking of things that are German, me and Lexie learned a wonderful new German term this week, “Backpfeifengesicht” which is a face that absolutely needs to be punched.

Alyx: Oh, I saw this word in the script, and I was like “God help me if I have to pronounce that”, what is this person who needs punched in the face?

Ashleigh: Well given that we’re going to be talking about the election, I think it’s fairly safe to say there’s going to be quite a few candidates to be backpfeifengesichted. 

Alyx: Oh, I see, sorry I thought you meant…

Ashleigh: No it’s not a specific person, it’s just any person whose face really just needs a punch, like a Nazi, for example.

Alyx: Or the entire British political class, per se.

Ashleigh: Yes, indeed.

Alyx: Lawyer note here for those listening, we don’t advocate for punching politicians in the face, as tempting as it is.

Ashleigh: Yes, punch them in the dick instead, it’s easier [inaudible] [Alyx laughing]

Ashleigh: I jest, of course. So fun times, I was a bit jealous, I still am, honestly, of you getting to go to Berlin. I’m sure it’s one of the places that is probably quite good for wheelchair accessibility so I do want to check it out at some point. One of the girlfriends has been to Berlin numerous times and so she probably knows all the sights so I will go with her at some point.

Alyx: Exactly, it’s definitely one where, I will say I did it and it was a one and done experience. We went for three days and it felt like we covered what we needed to but it might be that we didn’t spot anything. You were also having some fun with Elden Ring, as well.

Ashleigh: Yeah, I’ve started playing Elden Ring. There’s a lot to it, I think, so Elden Ring if you’re unaware – although if you’re a gamer I doubt you would be – but it’s a game from FromSoftware who also make Dark Souls, Demon Souls, Sekiro and Armored Core VI. Elden Ring on a technical level is absolutely the best game I’ve played because the enemies are well thought out, the story of it is teased out very gently, it’s not spoon feeding you this information, and the way the fights work, the way the design that’s gone into the landscape and the way it looks from a distance and you can see something in the distance and you can go there. You’re able to just get on your spectral steed and ride to that, to whatever it is you’ve seen in the distance. Wonderful game and I’m probably not even a quarter of the way through it and I’ve been playing it for really too many hours.

Alyx: I heard George R R Martin had some involvement.

Ashleigh: Yeah, in development he helped develop some of the lore. So an annoying thing is that all of the boss characters that you go up against, all of their names start with either G or R or M so it’s really easy to get them confused. So what Rodrick, was he the guy that did the – no that was the other guy. Okay so unfortunately George R R Martin’s self-insert ego has made it a little more difficult to parse and to be able to follow the plot along. I don’t imagine I’m the only person that’s had that problem with it.  

Moving us in a more podcast direction, there’s something we need to mention. Now because of my schedule, we need to change the – not the day of the week but we need to change the week that the podcast comes out, so rather than the next episode coming out two weeks from now, it’s going to be three weeks from now and then two weeks…

Alyx: And then our schedule of an episode every two weeks will continue, essentially. 

Ashleigh: But for just this time because I’ve got a busy week at the moment where I’ve got something on the Monday night and on the Tuesday night and usually the Wednesday night and that usually means that I’m not able to get much done in the evenings of the week that’s right before we record. So the Thursday night of busy week is when I am recording the podcast, inevitably, except we’re doing it on a Sunday this time, don’t ask any questions.

Alyx: You’ll find out soon.

Ashleigh: Quite. But because I need to change that up and I’ve tried to change the other things around, I’ve asked I don’t know how many times for the other things, can we change the day we do this, can we change it to this other week, but I can’t do it so unfortunately the thing that’s got to change is this. So our next episode is going to be on 15 July and thereafter we shall pick up our every two weeks schedule so won’t that be fun.

Alyx: But I suppose for those Dr Who fans we’ll put out an extra What The Trans?! to fill the gap as well because that’s our usual way of rewarding people when we can’t release a podcast on schedule so watch out for one of those.

Ashleigh: Well we’ve got time to get a couple of them out, haven’t we, why the devil not. Turning us away from Dr Who for a moment, this episode as you might imagine, is going to be quite heavy on the politics.

Alyx: Not again.

Ashleigh: Not again, I know right. So please do just bear that in mind, it’s going to be a very politics-heavy episode and obviously particularly the politics of the UK, that’s where we’re based, that’s what we focus on, so with that said, let’s crack on, shall we?

Alyx: Indeed and I suppose the first thing we need to crack is Keir fucking Starmer and his fucking inconsistencies.

Ashleigh: Indeed so as we’ve mentioned and as you may have heard there’s an election going on, more on that later, but we’re going to talk about the man who will probably be the next Prime Minister of the UK.

Alyx: Probably.

Ashleigh: Probably. I hope so, rather him than some of the others, but Jesus, as if he’s the best option.

[music clip playing “They’re really going to make me vote for…”]

Ashleigh: …Keir Starmer. Now he’s of course been on the campaign trail since the election was announced back in May. Now I’m having some trouble establishing his position on trans people, although actually I’m having some trouble establishing his position on quite a lot of things, but let’s stick with this one for now.

Alyx: Our specialism.

Ashleigh: Mm. Since becoming leader of the Labour Party, he’s made some statements that supported trans people but more recently he seems to have backtracked on those and made statements that appease the gender critical crowd. Just this week there’s been some contradictions starting with 18 June when Starmer helpfully suggested that trans people and specifically trans women should be placed in side rooms when they’re in hospital rather than being placed on a men’s or a women’s ward. In an interview with Nick Ferrari for LBC, Ferrari asked if he’d be able to enter a women’s ward if he identified as a woman and Starmer said you would be accommodated but not on a women’s ward. And as a side note, isn’t it interesting how so many of these old white men in the media claim not to understand things if they don’t make it about themselves first?  But then a few days later on 20 June, Starmer was on Question Time alongside current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and once again he condemned Sunak’s comments in the Houses of Parliament which he made when the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey was present, but he prefaced this comment by agreeing with war criminal and former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s old man yells at cloud moment made earlier this week where Tony Blair said that a woman is with a vagina and a man is with a penis. Starmer agreed with that comment but then seconds later condemned Rishi Sunak for making largely the same comment? I guess it’s the presence of a grieving mother that makes the difference? Starmer has also said that Labour would end the divisive culture war bullshit the Tories have been peddling although given he and Wes Streeting have been upholding several culture war talking points I’m not very inclined to believe him. So what do you think of Keir Starmer?

Alyx: [sighs] [music playing “How is the best case scenario…”]

Alyx: …Keir Starmer.  He, if I wanted a spine I’d go to a chiropractor.

[sound effect]

I’ve used the phrase “sitting on a fence post so much that it comes through his arse and out his mouth” on a few occasions. I think we’ll be definitely mentioning a bit more about his constant U-turning and contradicting his own manifesto on a lot of aspects, especially the Equality Act as mentioned here because when we spoke to Robin Moira White in an earlier episode, segregating trans women away from women’s wards is discrimination. It would be unlawful.

Ashleigh: It would be unlawful, yes indeed. 

Alyx: If he’s saying he’s upholding the Equality Act that would make this kind of policy unlawful then he’s contradicting his manifesto which doesn’t make any sense at all.

Ashleigh: Indeed, you’d think he’d look at the manifesto first and keep it consistent but then that’s the thing with our man Keir, he’s not super consistent. Did you spot or, I don’t know if you picked up on this specifically but Tony Blair phrased his comment in such a weird way, like a woman is ‘with’ a vagina and a man is ‘with’ a penis, like not necessarily attached to, just ‘with’. Like “I’m with my collection of rapists’ penises in jars”, does that count? 

Alyx: I’m ‘with’ child, but it’s not my one, it’s someone else’s, you see, just someone’s I’ve kidnapped, I’m ‘with’ child.

Ashleigh: Yes I’m ‘with’ laptop, does that make me a technophile?

[Alyx laughing]

Ashleigh: It’s just a strange way of phrasing it and obviously it’s a stupid thing for him to be saying either way because he’s, don’t get me started on Tony Blair. I’ve already described him as a war criminal, that’s the nicest thing I can say about him.

Alyx: And it seems to be that Keir Starmer is going to be turning into a bit of a fanboy of him, or depending on how the election goes, Tony Blair is going to be a fanboy of Keir Starmer, I don’t know.

Ashleigh: It’ll be a bit of both, they’ll be feeding off each other.

Alyx: 69 position.

Ashleigh: Gross. 

[Alyx laughing]

Ashleigh: Because it’s Keir Starmer and Tony Blair.


Obviously more of this to come later where we did speak to a Labour representative about the manifesto and about Labour and about the election as you might imagine. But let’s move on, shall we?

Alyx: Mm, moving on from Keir Starmer and Tony Blair, the Tories get a bollocking from our favourite guy at the UN. Yeah so Victor Madrigal-Broloz [Borloz] as we’ve now called him in the What The Trans?! team.

Ashleigh: Broloz, what a ledge.

Alyx: What a lovely lad he is, eh mate?

Ashleigh: Yeah mad lads. Lads lads lads.

Alyx: Innit bruv.  Right.


Alyx: Somehow I just sound too posh for an Essex person despite being in Essex.

Ashleigh: Me too, I sound way too posh for a Northerner, but oh well.

Alyx: So I suppose moving on from Essex to the UN, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity released his report recently following a visit to the UK from April to May 2023. It is scathing in some areas, talking about the hostile public pressure on trans people through media and political attacks but it also makes several amazing points in support of what trans advocates have been asking for years. One of its biggest points is the collusion of the EHRC in government, saying the commission inappropriately offered the government a formula to seek to exclude trans and gender diverse persons from legal protections. Yes, you heard that right, the Equality and Human Rights commission, people who are meant to be independent and protect us, literally gave the government the steps to act out their anti-trans agenda.  This UN report makes it stark clear and yet the UN trusted partner GANRHI still awarded it A grade status as a human rights institution. The report claim is backed up with comments from commission meetings and supports the findings various organisations and reporters that have been working tirelessly and have been speaking out about it over the last few years. If you want more detail, there is an article [inaudible] which we’ll link below. There’s a lot of good things in this document as well. Victor Madrigal-Broloz, or Borloz, makes many amazing…

Ashleigh: Borloz is his name, so we should probably use it at least once, right.

Alyx: At least once, I suppose, so Victor Madrigal-Borloz makes many amazing recommendations including bringing in self-ID, banning all conversion practices for all LGBT people, use coercive control laws in the meantime, maintain the Equality Act without change, not remove protections for LGBT asylum as Suella Braverman attempted, equal access to healthcare without current degrading barriers, ensuring children in school learn about gender and sexuality as part of their sex education and more. Madrigal-Borloz clearly recognises the UK’s landscape regarding trans rights for what it is. He has spoken openly about aiming for a global ban on conversion therapy abuse. It’s good to see international recognition of how bad the situation here is and the support for policy changes that are in line with what trans people have spoken out in support of.

Ashleigh: Yeah this was great, he fully took them to task over it, didn’t he? And I’m still scratching my head over how the UN can essentially overlook what their own expert is saying and give the EHRC that A grade because I know you and I in particular were hoping that there would be consequences for the shit that they’ve been doing but clearly not.

Alyx: If anyone has an ounce of common sense everyone would be begging and pleading with their maker to have a result that actually had common sense. I think there is going to be a report published by GANRHI on this, we’re still waiting on that, we’ll be scrolling through either befuddled or absolutely confused as to why they have kept the A grade because you can see what’s happened here and we’re probably going to have to do a deep dive into the EHRC, in fact I keep messaging it on the What The Trans?! group chat.

Ashleigh: Yeah we will be doing it at some point but we’ve been diving so deep on various episodes recently, we’ve got to come up for air sometimes.

Alyx: That’s going to be a future us problem, I think.

Ashleigh: Yes, definitely a future us problem, they can handle it. When he was here I appreciated Madrigal-Borloz and his style because he said what was clearly on his mind, right, and as well as saying here’s the things the government’s doing wrong, he also had some very encouraging words for the transgender and queer people on the ground in the UK saying look, stand together, you can fight this. You had Blitz spirit, you had this and that and all the other triumphs that Britain has had in bygone days but nevertheless we had them. I like Madrigal-Borloz, I think he’s cool.

Alyx: Let’s establish a fan club for Victor, just fan accounts, stan accounts. Multiple gifs and cool kpop people doing dance moves or something, TikToks. Obviously I’m showing my age but I’m really not, I’m 23, this is part of what people who are my age are doing.

Ashleigh: Well it sort of works, Borloz TikToks.

Alyx: BorLoks. No, that sounds like something else, doesn’t it?

Ashleigh: I suppose so. BorLoks also sounds like it’s some sort of creature.

Alyx: Yeah, or some sort of shipping of Sherlock Holmes and Victor Madrigal-Borloz because you’ve got the WhoLock and the…

Ashleigh: That would be the most specific and niche ship I’ve ever heard of. Not saying it’s out of bounds, but if any of you are aware of any ships between Sherlock Holmes and Victor Madrigal-Borloz let us know about them and we promise we will read them out as a special episode.

Alyx: Now that would be an interesting fanfiction.

Ashleigh: Won’t it just.

Alyx: By the way, if Victor Madrigal-Borloz is listening into this podcast, we’re sorry in advance.

Ashleigh: We really are sorry, man. Good news, thanks Victor, the rest of the episode is all about…

[Dun-dun-dun sound with stylised voice announcing “the General Election”]

Alyx: So if you’ve gotten this far into this episode and you still can’t tell there’s an election going on, you may need to restart the episode. But for those who have been listening, we are dedicating this episode to the General Election, the Parties vying for your votes, and the policy platforms they are representing and on this particular occasion, what the trans policies are.

Ashleigh: So with this we’ll be walking you through the policy platforms of each of the major parties and also speaking to representatives from each of them to grill them on why trans people should vote for them so you can make the best informed decision when you go to the polls. There are a couple of obvious exceptions and we’ll come to those in a minute. This is covering the policies covering trans people, so if you wanted to know which one has the best policy on infrastructure or starving children or indeed for the infrastructure to starve children, this won’t be focusing on that, so let’s jump into it.

Alyx: Now to kick things off, we have the Conservative Party, and the short answer is…

[buzzer sound]

Don’t vote for them. Long answer…

[buzzer sound]

Please, for the love of God, I beg you, this is the worst party in existence, they want us all dead. Don’t vote for the Tories, their policies are distilled evil. They include changing the Equality Act to no longer include gender reassignment and to explicitly define sex as biological sex. This in turn will make it so that people can discriminate against trans people regardless of if you have a Gender Recognition Certificate or not.

Ashleigh: Pretty fucked. But that’s not all! The Tories want to bring back Section 28. In their manifesto they’ve pretty much bragged about their RSHE guidance saying that they will:

[classical music begins playing 00:22:20]

“guarantee the contested concept of gender identity is not taught to children”.

[classical music ends 00:20:29]

Alyx: And this isn’t the only fuck-up in education. Back in January this year, the Tories put out guidance to schools on how to treat trans kids, and it had all the hits: forcing them into the wrong bathrooms, outing them to their parents without their permission, forcing teachers to deadname students and so much more. You can check out episode 106 on it which we’ll link in the description. But this was originally non-statutory, which means schools are not legally required to follow this guidance, but in their manifesto they have pledged that it would be mandatory in law.

Ashleigh: Alongside making trans kids’ lives hell in the classroom, they want to essentially force them through conversion therapy, as in their manifesto they pledge to fully implement the recommendations of the Cass Review and scrap their ban on the conversion therapy bill, citing the Cass Review as their reason for doing so. If you want to hear more about why the Cass Review is bad and frankly why would you but you can check out our deep dive which we will link in the description.

Alyx: And alongside this you’ll be particularly buggered in hospital or any kind of care as under the Tories they want to force nurses to misgender you and force you into the wrong hospital wards as well as enforce gendered language in the NHS. 

Ashleigh: So with all this is does paint a pretty clear picture and this is just going from January this year, this is not counting the other 14 years of the party being in power, and we had to omit much more because otherwise we’d be yapping for literally hours. If you want to hear that, just check out our previous episodes, any of them. Almost the only positive thing that they had was the first out trans MP was from their party but Jamie Wallis is no longer standing for election.

Alyx: And really the only positive change they’ve managed to make to the Gender Recognition Act was to make it a web form and to make it cheaper. So well done, you performed a basic IT task, which means in reality we should elect the civil service’s IT department instead of the Tories.

Ashleigh: So we didn’t bother speaking to a candidate for the Tories as there is no point and that’s the same for Reform too. We’re not the BBC, we don’t have to present some vacuous version of “both sides” and the Tories and Reform have made their position on trans people quite clear, so why would we even bother.

Alyx: However, we did speak to some other parties, and first up we spoke to the Labour Party.

Ashleigh: Who are on course to possibly win the shit out of this election but as we’ve pointed out already in this episode, that doesn’t mean that they’re perfect. Looking at you, Starmer and Streeting.

Alyx: And the term that’s often used for them now is red Tory which given the description of what we’ve given the Tory Party, is an interesting term.

Ashleigh: Which is a far cry from 2019 with the party under Jeremy Corbyn. Now Keir Starmer rules with what seems to be an iron fist towards the left of his party, a trade that has left them quite a lot of criticism and disillusionment from voters not knowing what Keir stands for.

Alyx: And it’s especially exacerbated by constant shifts in policy and always shifting his party further to the right whenever the Tories do something egregious. An example of this is July last year when Anneliese Dodds in an opinion piece in the Guardian announced that they would scrap their plans for self-ID from their policies.

Ashleigh: And when there are multiple calls from within the Party to bring in a definition of transphobia to Labour’s policies, it is ignored and after parroting anti-trans talking points over and over again in interviews, it leaves a lot of doubt on what side Labour are really on and even after the manifesto launch there are still a lot of doubts.  Especially with Keir Starmer now saying that trans women should be excluded from women’s wards in hospital.

Alyx: On that note we spoke to Steph Richards for TransLucent, also a CLP and women’s officer at the Labour Party for her thoughts on this and I’ll let her introduce herself.

Steph: I’m Steph Richards, pronouns she/her. I’m CEO of TransLucent.org.uk, I’m a member of the Labour party, I’m an officer of Portsmouth constituency Labour party, both as LGBT officer and women’s officer and I’m also a member of LGBT Labour.

Alyx: As we have done with all the rest of the interviews in this episode, we started off with the same question. Why should trans people vote Labour?

Steph: Well that’s obviously up for trans people to make up their own mind who they vote for and to be quite frank I can understand that there will be a lot of trans people that will tactically vote. I think that’s reasonable. I would obviously much prefer that you vote for the Labour Party but I can’t see many trans people voting for the Conservative Party.  So if you even don’t like Labour but it’s a straight choice between the Tories and Labour then I would tend to suggest that Labour for a trans person, you’re going to be a heck of a lot better off with us than you are with them.

Ashleigh: Now we’re not sure we completely agree with Steph’s take, but I get what she’s saying about tactical voting and we will talk more about that in a little while. But Steph herself raised concerns about how Labour have been infiltrated and affected by the gender critical crowd:

Steph: Are we perfect? No. Have we been infiltrated by the gender criticals? Absolutely. Which party hasn’t? Unfortunately what you find with GC people, you’ve only got to go into Labour Women’s Declaration and see that what these people actually do, it appears that they agree with conversion therapy for trans people, which obviously is horrific, they also go and retweet anything that’s gender critical whether it’s from the Liberal [Democrats] Party or Alba or SNP, this is really, really difficult I think for all political parties. All political parties have got a GC element and my own view is that the way the trans community is actually portrayed is the gender critical movement is an international movement that’s dedicated for the social extinction of trans people and we should look at it as not so much as a political issue within political parties but as an overall movement that’s out there to take away our human rights.

Alyx: Can’t argue with that but we also wanted to push a little bit about some of the problems in Labour with the parts about the infiltration of gender critical people, some people might point to some of the disciplinary sections of Labour’s policies. For example Labour hasn’t got a definition of transphobia in its policies which means no MP can be disciplined for being bigoted towards trans people. Should that be a cause for concern?

Steph: Absolutely it should and if you go into my twitter, so my twitter is @PompeySteph, within the last couple of days I’ve tweeted out saying support LGBT Labour, because LGBT Labour is exactly asking for that, the definition of transphobia. I think we need to have a definition of trans because this is something that the TERFs tend to come up with, you know “what is trans”. I think we also need to have a definition of transphobia. My own personal favourite is that of the UN which not only takes in the prejudice and discrimination of trans people but at the same time anyone who refuses to accept that we’re trans as our gender identity. I think that’s a key point. We get this from TERFs all the time saying being trans is not real, we know it absolutely is real, and when JK Rowling for example did that absolutely awful tweet of the ten trans women, labelling them men, was absolutely a transphobic act. If any politician did that in the Labour Party, I honestly think they should be disciplined, but the Labour Party unfortunately our disciplinary process is not good and I would like to see it improved but this is going to take some time. At the end of the day, we’re not perfect but we are a party that’s in the right direction of travel in general in regards to trans issues. We’re turning round, we’re saying we’re going to come out with a full conversion therapy ban including trans people, we’re going to reform the GRA, are we going to get self-ID? No, we’re not. Do I think that’s wrong? Absolutely. But unfortunately, we are where we are and we have a gender critical press in the main which is obviously impacting on our acceptance within society generally and in consequence that is impacting on political parties as well and until we get less headlines around trans people, negative headlines, we’re not going to improve that. It’s a case of when they’re throwing mud, some of it sticks and we don’t have that ability. We don’t have a press that’s pro trans people, unfortunately.

Ashleigh: We understand being a member of a political party doesn’t mean that you’re immediately able to influence policy on a national level, we get that, but having a simple definition of transphobia is something that we know people have been pushing for for years now and it still isn’t there. We’re pretty sure this is something to do with the aforementioned GC activists within the Labour Party but surely things would have gotten a little further by now.

Alyx: Moving on from that, we then asked about Keir Starmer’s recent comments about trans women in hospital wards. 

During the interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC at the time, he also mentioned that even if a trans woman had a gender recognition certificate at the time, she would still be placed on the men’s ward as well?

Steph: Yeah. In fairness, I think sometimes within the trans community we do tend to look for the negatives. He also turned around and said “look, these problems”… or issues I think was the exact word he used… “these issues are already out there and the NHS have got the ability to be able to deal with it now and already deal with it now”. And we do find that, you know, invariably trans women are put on female wards and we do find that trans men are put on men’s wards; and occasionally they are put in side rooms.

And… I don’t know if you guys have ever been in a hospital ward with eight beds. I can tell you it’s not a lot of fun. Because you have people that’s screaming and hollering, and saying “I want to the commode” or “I need this” or “I need that” and you don’t get any sleep. So I’m not defending the fact that trans people would potentially be put in a side room which I don’t think the NHS has got in any case, because side rooms tend to be used for people that’s end of life or got contagious diseases or, you know, got a special type of care. I don’t think the NHS has got that facility to start off with, at this moment in time.

But there are actually bonuses to be in a side room because ultimately you’ve got a chance of sleep and I was put in hospital some decades ago, and I was put in a side room because they thought I was contagious which I wasn’t. And my wife, sadly who I’d lost not so long ago, she most certainly should have been in a side room and they didn’t have the availability of it. She was actually told, in a ward, on a phone call with me, on a Saturday afternoon, that told her that she had inoperable cancer and she was terminally ill. And that was in a phone call, in an open ward, with seven other beds. And that’s the sort of quality of care that we’ve got within the NHS at this moment in time because the NHS is on its knees.

And who do we blame for that? 14 years of Conservative rule has seen waiting lists go from 2 million people to 7.6 million people. We know what’s happened to trans healthcare over the last decade, from waiting potentially weeks and months, to now going into a decade. And this is all through proper lack of investment, lack of care. You know, I personally think that a lot of trans healthcare could be done by GPs. It’s actually quite simple to train a GP to look after trans people and hormones. That would save a lot of suffering for trans people. We know that trans people are dying because of the waits to get to Gender Identity Clinics. And we know the Conservatives don’t care.

Ashleigh: So it seems to us that Steph can’t defend it very well either and the whole message of the side rooms being more private isn’t quite the defence that she was aiming for, I think, the fact that they’re more private is beside the point, it is still discrimination.

Alyx: Wanting to move things along, we asked for Steph’s thoughts on the Cass Review.

As you may have heard in the manifesto, it said that the Cass Review would be fully implemented, in the manifesto. What are your thoughts on that?

Steph: My thoughts again, on it, is rather open-ended. I think the Cass Report… the positive was, I think what appears to be the case was it was set out in good faith. I firmly believe that the Cass Review was politicised. I’ve no doubt about that. I believe the conclusions within the Cass Review are wrong. I don’t think it was done properly.

So today at the Royal College of Psychiatrists they have their international conference, as you probably know, in Edinburgh. So there were team members of TransLucent there today, together with a local trans group in Edinburgh and some other trans people turned up as well. I believe Ruth Pearce turned up, Dr Ruth Pearce. And my understanding from the feedback that we’ve got back is a lot of the psychiatrists that were attending, a lot of the delegates actually came and talked to us. We obviously gave them our problems, with regards to the Cass Report, and what we’re trying to get through to the Labour Party and TransLucent, I’ve put together a team of experts. Not me, I’m no expert around trans healthcare at all. I’m just an old trans woman. TransLucent have put together a team reviewing the Cass Review, and we’re particularly looking at risk assessments on her 32 recommendations. And that information will get to political parties of all persuasions when the report’s ready.

We were actually aiming to get it ready for the autumn because we didn’t expect a general election so soon. We are now hoping that we can get this done by August. And we will say what’s good about the Cass Report, and we will say what’s bad about the Cass Report. And certainly there’s, the very fact that WPATH has turned around and said that “The Cass Review’s wrong”, lots of international organisations have turned around. The evidence is mounting, Cal Horton’s done some phenomenal work…

Alyx: Yeah, we had Cal on the pod quite a lot on our Cass Review review.

Steph: Yeah. Our concern is that either Tories or the Labour Party would go and implement it in full. We want to point out to them in particular methods used by Hilary Cass, and more importantly, the consequences of the recommendations because some of them are just plain wrong.

Ashleigh: So saying I don’t think it was done properly is a bit of an understatement. We can talk about the problems of Cass until we’re blue in the face and we know because we have. So as we discussed the Cass Review, we needed to ask one question.

So it’s a piece of work that’s quite widely, within the trans community, within the queer community, is seen as something that’s a complete screw-job and it’s been completely infiltrated and ruined from within by the people who Cass has chosen to involve in the research that she’s done. But the narrative is that the Cass Report is a wonderful, empathic piece of work that is going to be the blueprint for how trans healthcare is considered going forward and even people like Wes Streeting and Keir Starmer have said things like that. How is it that we would go about changing their minds?

Steph: Well as I mentioned at TransLucent we are doing this report that will be looking at Cass and we will get it to politicians and we will get it to the right politicians. We probably won’t get it to the press because the press don’t want to look after trans people, they’ve used us in a culture war, albeit you’ve probably noticed in the last two/three weeks there’s actually been a substantial less number of trans hostile pieces in the media. In the mainstream press there’s been quite a drop, in the Mail, Times. Will they come back, who knows.

Ashleigh: They are still there, I think.

Steph: It has dropped in the last three weeks, there’s definitely been a drop. Does that mean the Tories change policy, probably not. At our local Labour Party, so Portsmouth is rather unusual. Normally you have a constituency Labour party. In Portsmouth because we’re an island, our constituency Labour party is actually, we look after two constituencies. It’s very rare, or fairly rare, I believe. So Portsmouth South is Stephen Morgan, a gay man, a patron of LGBT Labour who’s totally trans supportive, which is great, and in the [North] their candidate is Amanda Martin. So Amanda’s done two hustings, she’s on her third one tonight, and in both of the hustings she has been given the “what is a woman” question. So one of the hustings was at the university and Penny Morden to the question “what is a woman”, Penny Morden’s answer was “I am a woman” because Penny Morden is the former MP for Portsmouth North who in the past we’ve tended to think was quite trans friendly but over the last few years seemed to have drifted off to be more GC.

Ashleigh: Very much so.

Steph: Amanda turned around and says well as far as I’m concerned, trans men are men, trans women are women, and nonbinary people are absolutely valid. People are who they say they are. And she gets a massive round of applause from the students, they love her, thank you, great, hope they can vote because this is the one issue of course where the Tories brought out voter ID and called the election this time in the year because there’s an awful lot of young people out there who are going to have difficulty voting and the Conservatives know that.  She was asked the same question in a wealthier area, a church hall or something in the constituency, and there you had a Reform candidate who actually turned up as well, I don’t think they turned up to go to the university, I’m not surprised, because I think there’s an awful lot of students that would not put up with Reform. Give a similar answer and it wasn’t hostile but equally there was no massive rounds of applause. And what we’ve got here is an issue around age, isn’t it, because we find that younger people are very much more trans-inclusive, they see the struggles that we’re having which are not dissimilar from what gay people were having in the 70s, 80s, 90s. 

So what I’m saying is we’ve got two issues I think we need to take on board, I’ve gone all round the houses. First of all young people are very much trans accepting, realise the struggles we’ve got and we have enemies who tend to be older and have less empathy but more importantly those people have got money and if it’s organisations like the Alliance Defend and Freedom which is a massive problem for us as a community, for years they will be a massive issue, how they’ve grown in this country is scary and they might not have so much influence over the next five years assuming the Labour government get in.

Alyx: You’ve potentially noticed there that Steph didn’t actually answer the question and this was a running theme throughout the interview and it’s why we’ve cut it into little concise segments because the interview as a whole took us over an hour and we wanted to move things along so we next spoke about the EHRC.

One glaring lack of mention of what Labour would do with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and I think probably one of the biggest canaries in the coal mine indication of the direction of a party is what will they do with the EHRC?

Ashleigh: That’s a concern, isn’t it?

Steph: Well I agree and again it was TransLucent, if you’ll recall, who actually brought out all this information and we fed it to other LGBT organisations. Claire Prosho, in particular, did a phenomenal amount of work which we fed onto other LGBT organisations, enabling us to do three human rights submissions to GANRHI. Unfortunately they were not successful, I don’t think they were ever going to be successful. I think it was always a big ask to be done but we did call out the EHRC and I think it’s now very obvious that there are people there. Ultimately it was Alistair Henderson who set off the Maya Forstater case, to back Maya Forstater at her tribunal. We know that through Freedom of Information requests. We know that David Goodhart has got links to Free Speech Union and if I recall correctly there was a time Free Speech Union were quoting loads of things from the ADF. Sadly that all got wiped on their website and if I remember correctly, notice I’m being very careful in my language because I don’t want to be sued, so there are real concerns about the EHRC and I believe I’m right in saying that Kishwer Falkner’s time technically is up in November. I would like to see, given the report that’s come in from Victor…

Alyx: Victor Madrigal-Borloz, I think it was, wasn’t it.

Steph: Well said, yes, well said. [inaudible] He was not exactly enamoured with the EHRC. He made points of it in his recommendations and I would like to think that Labour will start to balance up the Board of the EHRC and I don’t think out of fairness we can object to gender critical views at the EHRC, we have to be realistic. But what we can object to is not having a balance on that Board and at this moment in time you’ve got Reindorf. Reindorf goes to LGB Alliance conferences and gives talks. I actually listened to her talk which she gave to the Guardian, I have a copy of it.

Alyx: Yeah, we reported on it, I believe, as well.

Steph: Blaming Stonewall for everything. I think she turned around and said oh I blame Stonewall for this if memory serves me there correctly and then she said oh 99.9% of it. Well I don’t know exactly what, has Stonewall been perfect? No. I’ve got some criticisms of Stonewall but equally let’s remember that when gay rights was secured going back sort of 2015 who was the organisation that then took trans people under their wing and said now we’re going to fight for trans people because it was trans people if you go back to the original Stonewall riots in New York, trans people were there. Nonbinary and trans women, I think there were three if memory serves me correctly – Ashleigh seems to know, shaking her head vigorously so you would know more than I – we should have been taken under Stonewall’s wing much quicker.

Ashleigh: Now for the record, I wasn’t shaking my head, I was nodding it, because yeah, trans people were at Stonewall. But moving on, we wanted to talk about Labour’s suspension of Michael Cashman for describing Rosie Duffield as too “frit or lazy” to attend a hustings event. Now just for reference, “frit” seems to be shorthand for frightened and I’m only mentioning that because I had to look it up myself.

Alyx: There was also mentions on Monday about Michael Cashman being suspended from Labour for saying that Rosie Duffield was too “frit or lazy” for pulling out of a hustings. Do you think that was justified?

Steph: Well bearing in mind Michael is our patron at TransLucent. I have huge respect for Michael. We have communicated within 24 hours of the event. Do I think it’s right? No, I don’t. Was it controversial? Yes. But Michael has turned around to me and said it’s a general election campaign and what option did Keir really have? If Keir doesn’t want to give the newspapers any ammunition, that’s the bottom line, on anything controversial, absolutely anything, not just trans issues, Keir is playing – if you’ve ever played cricket with a straight bat, that’s exactly what he’s doing. Balls are being bowled down to him and he’s not attacking, he is defending, he’s going into a defensive stance and he’s just knocking the ball into the ground. He’s not a stupid man, he’s a human rights lawyer that had a really tough job at the CPS, Crown Prosecution Service, became a Sir because of it, he didn’t come into royalty, he’s not Jacob Rees-Mogg born into god knows how much money or the other Tories, Rishi Sunak that got £2.2m in investments last year. If you had £2.2m come in on investment last year, would you be Prime Minister on £180,000 a year salary? I wouldn’t. He’s only there to make more money for his mates and himself would be my suggestion and again I need to be very careful. Not that they’ll sue me because I ain’t worth suing, you only sue people if they’ve got money, and I don’t have any money. But ultimately I think that’s where we are. Just recapping, I just feel that trans people can obviously go and vote for who they want but I would say the direction of travel is with the Labour party good. It’s unfortunate about Michael, Michael’s deeply upset at what’s happened, as you know he’s turned around and said that he’s going to take a bit of a break, he held his hands up. Do I think his tweet was accurate? What do you think?

Alyx: We also wanted to raise that earlier point about complaining to a higher authority within Labour, so we talked about the great people at Labour for Trans Rights.

So when we speak to folk like Labour for Trans Rights, with Alexis Chilvers-West and all those folk who also mentioned about constantly complaining to Labour, they say they keep trying to go to them but it keeps getting dismissed. Would you say they haven’t been complaining enough?

Steph: Well I don’t know, but I think what we should be doing is complaining and recording those complaints and making those complaints so that people can actually see that we’ve complained and what’s been the result. And if we start getting a league table saying there’s been x numbers of complaints against this particular MP, whether it’s been Labour or a Tory or what have you regarding transphobia, and my definition of transphobia is if it’s prejudiced against trans people, discriminating against trans people or denying our identity, I would say they’re all transphobic acts. The one that gets away with it the most in my view, personally, actually isn’t Labour. I think it’s Joanna Cherry. She’s meant to be a human rights barrister as far as I’m aware and yet she seems to be able to get away with god knows whatever.

Ashleigh: So, you heard her! Complain like hell and record that you’ve done that. And it’s interesting that she bring up Joanna Cherry when Labour has Rosie Duffield to worry about, something something glass houses and throwing stones, but that about wraps it up for Labour.  So what did you make of our little chat, Alyx?

Alyx: Certainly a thing where I have to choose my words quite a bit here but it was certainly an interview where we learned a lot about the stances of a few people that wasn’t what we’d agree with a lot.

Ashleigh: Yeah, agreed, there were definitely some points that I wouldn’t have agreed with as you will have heard in the interviews by now, dear listener.

Alyx: I will say that it was my first time doing a “tough interview” where I had to be a tough interviewer putting someone to a point. There were points where I wish I could’ve challenged a little bit more, I was just firstly unfamiliar with the territory and you’ve seen me when it comes to knowing how polite I can be. I get constant mentions from the team at What The Trans?! to stop being so polite.

Ashleigh: Yes, indeed.

Alyx: I always feel so bad when I play Mass Effect and I do a renegade role and I just cannot bring myself to be mean to NPCs so with that politeness aspect to it I didn’t really push Steph as much as I should’ve and she even mentioned that I wasn’t pushing that hard anyway, so something to take note in my interrogation techniques for the future.

Ashleigh: Yes, indeed. Well we didn’t want to full on get the thumbscrews out but there were a couple of points where we did push back a little bit and say that’s not quite right but as we said it took us over an hour just to get through all the stuff that we wanted and just to get the concise answers we were looking for but we couldn’t put the entire hour-long episode because we spent an hour with Labour, we had a good long interview with the Liberal Democrat representative we spoke to and we had some time with the Greens as well so we would very easily be hitting three hours for an episode which is perfectly doable and acceptable but not our brand, that’s not how we do things, I think.

Alyx: I think we’ve certainly learned a few lessons on how to conduct these kinds of interviews in the future.

Ashleigh: Yes, I would say so.  So there’s been a couple of things that have popped up since that interview took place. As we’re recording this we did that last week, this episode will be coming out in a couple of days. There’s been a story in the Telegraph about how the sex and gender guidance set up by the Conservative Party will be put under review by Labour if they are successful in the election. This is an article from the Telegraph so take it with an extremely generous pinch of salt but nevertheless that’s out there so it seems perhaps that some people within Labour are taking a little bit more of a stand.

Alyx: Yes, however I will also say that they haven’t committed to anything so it’s still on the fence post on a lot of these aspects because they might say they may, but they may not as well. As usual with the election taking no actual stance on the matter.

Ashleigh: Or taking an unclear stance. Because someone will say one thing and then a week later someone will say something else that contradicts that and it can be quite frustrating, I feel.

Alyx: And it really does bring back the whole thing of people not knowing what Labour stands for. It’s a clear example of that matter and it really does just make you lose confidence because they just need to have this thing called having a straight answer. It’s a very difficult thing to hear about, I’ve heard, but it seems the rest of our candidates have had less of an issue with that as you will see in the next interviews but one thing that we did hear about today was more mentions of how they’ll make the gender recognition reform more modernised, in a way.  So in a recent announcement Labour has vowed to simplify the gender transition process in law and under the current new laws that they are proposing, it ditches the previous Board of Recognition where you get a board of judges and such to go over all your documents but instead a doctor has to diagnose you with the outdated term of “gender dysphoria” and also make sure that you twiddle your thumbs for two years afterwards and then you become able to then obtain a gender recognition certificate.

Ashleigh: Which in a way that’s even worse because…

Alyx: It’s even harder to get a specialist doctor.

Ashleigh: Well in a sense, quite a lot of trans people will get that, but the whole send in your documents and then wait for two years. If I’m understanding that correctly that is actually worse because they’re just shoving a two year gap in there for no reason.

Alyx: For no reason, exactly. I will say it’s still a change at least?

Ashleigh: Mmm.

Alyx: Do you ever remember a bit in “Yes, Prime Minister” where they’re talking about the Berlin Wall and when would you press the button?

[Clip from Yes, Prime Minister playing: 

Now if they try anything it will be salami tactics.

Salami tactics?

Slice by slice. [laugh track] One small piece at a time.]

Alyx: I think Claire kept bringing up, I think in the old, when we were at the old TransLucent conference of always trying to move things on slightly and in small increments so that it gets noticed a little bit and then they don’t decide to press the red button but even then it’s still a rather frustrating process because even then with this there’s still no guarantee it’ll actually happen because it’s still a manifesto promise.

Ashleigh: Yes, quite.

Alyx: Which as we’ve seen with Labour’s leader and we mentioned in the interview, under the smallest bit of criticism Labour has a sense to ditch their promises and especially election promises like when Keir Starmer was elected as Labour leader. There’s a lot that’s happening with Labour and of course we’ve seen about the possibilities of Labour getting in and we’re struggling to get any kind of interview with Labour and sometimes we’re like we really need to increase our contacts with Labour, with LGBT Labour specifically, so if you’re a member of that just please get in touch and we’ll be happy to chat with you and keep in contact. All our messages are off the record and we’d just love to chat with you so we’ve always got a good bit of background because the more we get of that the better we can keep everyone informed. So please get in touch.

Ashleigh: We’re about to talk about the Liberal Democrats. And we spoke to Charley Hasted who is the Chair of the Liberal Democrats LGBTQ+ group. Now, before we go any further here, I do have to point out that we had some technical problems when recording this interview, mostly relating to Charley’s internet, so there are some glitched or lost words in the interview, we’ve tried to remove as many as we can in the edit but some might remain so please do bear that in mind while you listen in. We also have a transcript of the episode available for those of you listening through YouTube. Now, listeners of a certain age may remember the feelings of betrayal when the Lib Dems went into a coalition with the Tories back in 2010. Personally, I had voted Lib Dem in every election I had ever voted in only for them to climb into bed with the ancient enemy.

Alyx: And the first question to come up was about that and how they can regain trust after that coalition and this is what they had to say about it.

Amber: How on Earth can we trust the Lib Dems after them propping up the Tory government in 2010?

Charley: Uh, it’s one of those decisions I think, with the benefit of hindsight, we wouldn’t have done it. I think what you had was a lot of people who thought that we’d be […] than we could, I genuinely think the vast majority of people who voted for it voted for it […] and what they intended was for us to be able to try and stop the Tory party screwing things up quite as much as they did. I think like I said, with hindsight, a lot more people would have said actually it’s not worth it. There are things that we did that I am genuinely proud of, increasing the Income Tax threshold, People Premium, Free School Meals for primary school kids, getting rid of detention for child asylum seekers. Those are all things that I am genuinely proud that we achieved in government. Could we have done a lot more? Probably. Could we have maybe made different choices about where we put our people to get a better grip on things? Probably. But I think a lot of people got swept up into things and some decisions were made that honestly, I don’t think a lot of people would have made. I think with hindsight, people […] confidence and supply is probably better, we can probably put more pressure on things. […] foisting the blame onto us for things. The Brown Report was a Labour Government thing and it recommended uncapped tuition fees. Work Capability Assessments came in under Labour. Both parties were very good at foisting the blame or all those things onto us. […] the blame to accept for that, but so do they. We got penalised very very heavily, in a way I don’t think we should have done. I think the other two parties needed to be sharing at least some of the blame for that, in a way they didn’t. But I think some of that is […] this is a nice party, people expect the Tories to be a bit evil… 

Amber: Well… [laughter]

Charley: …So they’re not surprised when they are. [laughter]

Alyx: They sound like they got hit in the polls and seeing that effect and then decided that they don’t want to be stung like that again which to me just reads no more coalitions. And also a big mention of other parties are bad too [inaudible] to divert the blame. We spoke over what changed over the last 14 years and why the Lib Dems are different now.

Charley: Um, I think Brexit sort of generally woke people up to a lot of things. We had a lot of people join who hadn’t been that active in politics before. Our Youth Ring at the moment are doing so, so well on policy stuff, on policy formu[…] stuff. We’re working together better than we have at any point, I think, over the last 2, 3, 4 years. We are working together better as a party, we’re talking to each other better, a lot more engaged, and I think generally we’ve got a lot of people who want to help and want to make things right. A lot of the people who have joined the party have joined because they wanna make things right. There are also those of us who have been with the party for a lot of years, I joined in 2010, who have been sort of just steadily working our way up the ranks, working our way through things and we are in it for the long haul. We’ve proven we’re working for it, and I’m sat here as somebody who, y’know, I grew up in social housing. I’ve been on ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), I know what it’s like. I was on ESA under the Coalition, I know what it’s like, I know what it’s been like.

Ashleigh: And simply because it’s squatting over the UK’s trans community like a great noxious cloud we of course had to ask the Lib Dems’ intentions towards the Cass Review.

Given the polling, how much of the Cass Review proposals that Labour have indicated their support of, how many of those would you attempt to fight if you ended up as the official opposition? And with that, are you supportive of the UK embracing WPATH as the standard for trans healthcare? 

Charley: Sorry, you broke up part way through that question. 

Ashleigh: Okay, how much of the Cass Review proposals that Labour have agreed to would you attempt to fight if you ended up as the official opposition? And are you supportive of the UK embracing WPATH as the standard for trans healthcare? 

Charley: I think it would depend very much on how they were framing it. So, there are aspects of the Cass Report where I can see how, if you’ve got somebody with good intentions behind it, it could be helpful. We’ve seen it in mental healthcare more generally, that young people fall through the cracks in that transitional phase. So, if you’ve got somebody with good intentions, who’s genuinely wanting to stop that happening, then having that bridging space for young trans people could potentially be really good. It could work really well. What I want to see is a service that supports 16-25 year olds moving from adolescent to adult services that doesn’t stop them from taking hormone blockers; that doesn’t stop them from taking hormones or accessing surgery or anything like that. So if that’s what we’re talking about when they’re talking about that bridging space, then all for it. Give them that support because it can be frightening going from child healthcare to adult healthcare, regardless of what you’re being treated for. I’ve been in hospital as a new 18 year old, and I was on an adult ward, and it was terrifying because I didn’t know what was going on and I wasn’t getting the support or advice I would have gotten in a paediatric unit. It’s impossible to say whether or how much of what they’ve proposed I would support or oppose, without seeing what they are proposing. But I know what I want to see, which is a service that values trans people and our experiences, and the absolute best healthcare possible that meets with the WPATH standards. I want us to be getting the best treatment possible, regardless of what treatment. It values our experiences, doesn’t treat us like being trans is something inherently bad. That’s my issue with the Cass Report and a lot of the criticism of trans healthcare, is that it sees being trans as something bad that has happened to you. It sees transition as a negative outcome and it’s not a negative outcome, it’s just an outcome. And I’d hope for most of us, it’s a positive outcome. We need to make space for the people who realise that actually it’s not for them, we need to make space for the people who can’t go through the full process for whatever reason whether that is medical reasons, or family reasons, or all sorts. And we need to have spaces for those people where they feel safe and welcome as well. But that’s it. Whatever that happens to be, if someone feels the need to go on puberty blockers to give themselves more time to figure out who they are, fine. Let’s do that. If somebody is absolutely certain and says “I really wanna get on hormones as soon as I possibly can”, let’s work with them to facilitate that. Let’s stop seeing being trans as a negative medical outcome and just see it as a process that for a lot of us, makes us a lot more happy than we ever were. I am a lot happier now than I ever was when I was doing my really bad impression of a girl. 

Alyx: It seems all the parties seem to have the same take that there are good bits and bad bits of the Cass Review, although skimming full response Charley seems to have given a decent answer, mainly as it shows how the Cass Review can be exploited by malicious people and calls out the fact that the Cass Review treats transition as a negative outcome. I may have texted Charley to see if they read Cal Horton’s comment on the Cass report and they responded that they didn’t remember, which was the wrong answer because they should have said that we did a great episode on our Cass Review Deep Dive.

Ashleigh: Now alongside this, as we said in the Labour interview as well, the canary in the coal mine for the direction the Lib Dems will take on the EHRC will be the most indicative. So we ask Charley what the Lib Dems will do to pressure Labour on this if they win the election.

Charley: So the thing is that, I don’t think we actually have anything on this in the actual manifesto. Beyond general commitments, so we want to see sort of equality duties extended. We want to see more… Essentially my personal opinion is that it’s been subject, subjected to institutional capture, and I think at this point it is institutionally transphobic on a way that in a way that needs dealing with quite heftily. How you go about undoing that I don’t know, I think most of the issue is at the top. I think from what I’ve seen and heard, a lot of the lower level staff are very much still on side and still just wanting to do the best job they can. And they actually get, I’m not gonna lie, they actually understand what human rights law is and want to apply it properly. I know, right? But like this, like, I’m mad human rights. Not like this, my degree is human rights law, specialising in inequalities law. So this is something I’m very, very deeply passionate about on a very personal level. So we need to get it back, we need to get it back doing the good work that it had been doing in the past. We need, just oh, Faulkner needs to go so badly. She just – lease go and find a new job somewhere where trans people will never have to interact with you again. Please please, I beg of you. 

Ashleigh: I’m thinking a good role for her to embody would be as a McDonald’s drive-thru attendant, for example. Or a litter picker.

Charley: Oh no, no no no, just a job that that has no actual human customer service facing element to it at all. I think she’s she’s clearly not that great, with people from all the writing I’ve seen, all the things I’ve seen her post on Twitter, etcetera, etcetera, she just, there are people who just don’t seem to be able to take people disagreeing with them very well, and she seems to be one of them, which is quite sad. But yeah, it needs picking up, it needs fixing. And we need to actually recognise that we can’t keep – quite apart from anything else, we need to start recognising that we can’t really keep threatening to bin the European Convention on Human Rights every time the Tory party wants to try and grab a couple of votes. It’s just sad.

Alyx: Yeah. So, aside from equality duties extended or the fact that the EHRC has been subject to institutional capture, there wasn’t much mention of what they want to do aside from removing Faulkner there.

Ashleigh: Which is a good start.

Alyx: Yeah, but there weren’t any mentions of moves to prevent institutional capture in the future, like changing how the appointment system works or how to deal with the other Commissioners of the EHRC or the CEO or more. There’s also mentions of the Scottish area of the Liberal Democrats and a controversy surrounding that.

Ashleigh: So there was a woman named Emma Walker, who was the former CEO of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, who has essentially made a number of allegations of abuse and assault within the party and says that she is being silenced. She has a Change.org petition now. We did try to ask Charley about that.

Amber: Are you aware of the hashtag Ask Alex campaign that the former CEO of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has launched, by Emma Walker?

Charley: I am aware that there have been certain allegations. I’m gonna be honest, I have not been following it all that closely. I haven’t had the time to look into it too deeply. I’ve been fighting all the other fires.

Amber: No, that’s perfectly understandable. But from the little that you do know as chair of the LGBTQIA+ Lib Dem group, do you acknowledge that the situation with Emma Walker and her allegations is very concerning? And if their cis-heterosexual white CEO can be silenced about abuse and assault from other people in the party, what does this mean for more vulnerable people in the party and the wider public?

Charley: Yeah, I can. I can absolutely see how it would be. Yeah, as especially as somebody who’s a survivor myself. If there are allegations they need to be investigated, always. Every single thing, without a doubt.

Amber: The fact remains that from Emma’s side of these allegations, there has been no independent investigation. Yet we hear from Ed Davey and Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader that there has been an independent investigation, but there’s been no report released. So if if the Lib Dems are serious about, you know, having these investigations, why hasn’t there been one done in this case?

Charley: Without knowing any more, I can’t go into any more specifics on why that report’s not been released. It wouldn’t be fair of me to speculate.

Ashleigh: One thing we didn’t ask about was back in November 2022, there was a big controversy over the Lib Dems’ definition of transphobia, mainly as in that November it was changed to say, holding and expressing gender critical views, whether in internal debates or publicly, is protected by law, whilst also saying that disciplinary action may be taken against members who exhibit transphobic behaviour?

Alyx: And we have been told that any changes are pending and that more may happen in the future to change it to be trans inclusive. But legal advice is still being sought out. It’s still very, not much of a solid guarantee. 

Ashleigh: Yeah, indeed. So I found that a little bit disappointing. Well, it could have been a bit stronger on a couple of points, but then obviously I’m going to say that, you know.

Alyx: I might as well get this out of the way, but I may have made the odd donation to the local Lib Dems in my area. I’m fairly OK with them. We have a contact or two inside, which is how we got the interview. 

Ashleigh: So what is it? So you weren’t in the interview, but you did listen back to it. What did you make of it all?

Alyx: So I read from the transcript it seems, well, not to be biassed, but I think better than what we had for the Labour interview, to say the least, it seemed to be there was some precision in how it was answered.

Ashleigh: I mean, they’re certainly taking a stronger stance than Labour, aren’t they? So there’s the potential and I would love it if this happened, for Labour to get in as the main party and for the Lib Dems to become the official opposition. I really hope that’s what happens, because it would obviously be wiping the Tories and Reform out.

Alyx: I don’t feel too optimistic about it. I’m strongly of the bet that Labour is going tobe – the Tories are, at least, going to get 100 seats. I think. I mean, it’s me being pessimistic. But I just feel. I just want to place that bet right now because I’ve already, because earlier today I was betting on whether I fixed someone’s mobile phone with another technician and I’ve got a free lunch on the line if it goes well. So I’ve been betting all day today. Before long, it’ll become a gambling addiction. I don’t know.

Ashleigh: I was going to say just do be careful with that.

Alyx: So to cap things off, we then spoke to the Green Party candidate, Annie Stafford Townsend, a trans candidate for the Green Party, a trans candidate!

[cheering effects].

It’s been incredible this election, there’s been quite a few trans candidates.

Ashleigh: There are quite a lot of them. Yeah, there are a good few just in the Green Party.

Alyx: Oh, exactly. The Lib Dems have some, even Labour have a trans candidate or two, so an example I saw from just Googling was Georgia Meadows. Who’s also 22 years old. It’s always funny when you see someone who’s younger than you, who’s achieved more than you, in some kind of way.

Ashleigh: Yes. God don’t get me started.

Alyx: But yeah, it’s nice to have, it’s brilliant to have a trans candidate considering the situation in Labour.

Ashleigh: Yeah, it is. It’s a fine line, of course, because any candidate has to walk the line between serving the needs of their constituents, but also, if they’re a trans person, or they represent a particular demographic representing the needs of that demographic on a national level. So that would be, it’s a very busy time. So the best of luck to all of the trans candidates standing in the UK general election this year.

Alyx: And Georgia Meadows, if you’re listening to this podcast or a friend of Georgia Meadows is listening, please get them in touch. We’d love to have a chat.

Ashleigh: However, for this interview, we’re not going to chop it up into little bits. This is a shorter interview with Annie Stafford Townsend, trans candidate for the Green Party for Bristol East, and we’re just gonna play this interview in full, so hope you enjoy it.

Alyx: We’re with Annie Stafford Townsend from the Green Party. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Annie: Hello. Hi. Yeah. I’m Annie. I’m from the Green Party. I’m a member in Bristol, and I’m a parliamentary candidate for Bristol East. I’m also already an elected councillor in Bristol as well, on my third term, and also coordinator of Bristol Green Party as well.

Ashleigh: As an openly trans candidate yourself, how do you feel about the quite large influx of new trans candidates who are standing this year?

Annie: It’s great. I mean, it’s great for representation. It’s good to see that more trans people are feeling like they can. Firstly, that they’re being selected by their parties is great because that’s not always been easy and that, you know, it obviously still feels a bit risky because, you know we are under attack still, but it’s good that people feel like they can do it, that they’ve got enough support of their parties to do it. What’s not to love?

Alyx: We’ve asked this of all our trans candidates – with the Green Party, there’s generally a good viewpoint from a lot of trans people about the Green Party, but why do you think trans people should vote Green this election?

Annie: I think out of the mainstream parties, which we are now thoroughly up there in that category, we have been very proactively pro trans rights for a long time, trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary identities are valid. That’s been our policy since 2018, I think. We have been very public about that. I feel like the Green Party are the party that have been overtly fighting for progressive politics for a very long time, and also living our values as well, not just saying it, we are living it. We are actively promoting it throughout all of our work that we do, because the attacks on trans people are obviously just the canary in the mine. For the other attacks, for the far right, and so after they come for the trans people, they come for the other demographics, we’re seeing that already. And Green Party policy, our motto is that there is no climate justice without social and racial justice and our policies reflect that. And so does our support and standing up for people of all marginalised demographics. That’s why you should vote Green.

Ashleigh: OK. So we’ll move into the manifesto then. We’ve had a look through the manifesto. Where I couldn’t see anything specific about banning conversion therapy. Is that still a policy for the Green Party?

Annie: Let me double check exactly what the wording is or the manifesto, but it does explicitly talk about standing up for trans rights and non-binary rights in it. The thing about the manifesto is that you’ve only got a small amount of words to fit a whole bunch of stuff in, and so it’s the headlines for any particular policy area. Well, we have got pages and pages and pages and pages or detailed policy which obviously can’t make its way into the manifesto. I think our manifesto is quite clear that we are standing up for trans people and non-binary people, and yeah, holding the line on conversion therapy absolutely has to be part of that. There’s no reason to think that we’d ever be going back on that particular stance.

Alyx: Another thing about the conversion therapy ban that your party, as mentioned, is standing to ban – the Cass Review is often called conversion therapy. Could you just confirm what the Green Party’s stance is on the Cass Review?

Annie: Well, the Green Party LGBQTIA+ Greens did issue a statement on that. It’s quite clear in condemning it and rebuking it as a report. There’s obviously been a lot of work done to debunk it and unpick it and be clear about all the many reasons why it’s not really a stable piece of research. So the LGBQTIA Greens have issued a very clear statement on that.

Alyx: When we looked on the green parties website, we did notice a few things about the Green Party, so an official outside of the LGBT Greens did issue a statement, but then chose to retract it for some reason. We did get an archived version, but did you know what happened with that statement?

Annie: Yeah, that was a not good statement. It’s not clear exactly what happened. Nobody’s taking responsibility, it seems for putting that up in the first place and it was taken down really, really quickly, so whatever meant that that went up, whoever wrote it… I don’t believe it was, it wouldn’t have been one of the leadership team or the party, it definitely wasn’t the LGBTQIA+ Greens, so I don’t know how it got up there. That is something that questions are being sort of asked about, but it was actually taken down, which is good. And in the meantime, the LGBTQIA+ Greens have issued a statement instead.

Alyx: That goes along the line of dodgy elements of the party, stuff like the Shahrar Ali case coming up. And of course you handled it quite well, the lawsuit kicking him out. Should another player like Shahrar Ali come about, what lessons have your party learned from that sort of case?

Annie: It was an interesting case, wasn’t it? Because I know there’s a lot of claiming of a victory, but actually what it demonstrated is that political parties do have the right to expect their membership to and especially their spokespeople and the people in party leadership to support our policies. And if somebody doesn’t support the policy of the party, whatever party that is, then they can be removed from their post. That’s what the court case very clearly demonstrated. You have to follow the processes. You have to have equal and fair processes that you apply to all members, regardless of their views, but you follow the processes. Then you can remove people and that, I think, is the very clear lesson that’s been learned from that court case.

Ashleigh: So does the LGBTQIA+ group of the Greens support attending Pride in London this year, given the controversy regarding the sponsors?

Annie: Oh, I don’t know, I’ve not actually spoken to them about that because I’m a Bristol member, so I’ve not, to be honest, been paying that much attention to what’s going on with the London Pride, so I can’t really comment on that. I can ask them to find out.

Ashleigh: It’s simply that some of the sponsors are considered a tad problematic in support of fossil fuels, and so on, and indeed some companies are wrapped up with supporting Israel and their actions at the moment, but if you’re not aware of it because you’re focused on what’s going on in Bristol. That’s fair enough. Like I’m only aware of it through the What The Trans stuff, and I’m based in Manchester, so if I can go without having to think about London, it’s all the better to me, frankly.

Annie: Like London is not the only Pride in the world, right. Like, there are others. It’s. It seems to have become, speaking frankly, a very corporate capitalist event. Therefore, it doesn’t really have my attention generally in terms of what they’re doing, what they’re not doing because I don’t particularly have a desire to go to it, but I will go to Pride in Bristol instead.

Alyx: We also got a question from our audience as well. So this one’s a bit of a long one. The Green Party’s decentralised structure is one of its strengths, allowing it to adapt to its continuously changing threats against the environment and our civil liberties. As the party has grown, it has been exploited by fringe proponents of discredited ideas from gender critical anti-rights activism to so-called natural birth policy being hastily reviewed. Does the party’s structure need to be reformed to counterbalance quack policies, and if so, how can the best parts of Green policy, the Green Party’s policies, be preserved.

Annie: So yeah, basically as context, the way in which we make our policy is any member can put forward a policy at Conference, which is great. You do end up with some very questionable motions coming to Conference, not just about trans rights, but a whole range of interesting – yeah, a broad church is the term that’s likely to be used because that’s the thing about the Green Party is that environmentalism and the climate emergency is a thing that kind of binds us all together. The bringing social justice into it is something that has come more recently in the last 20 years of the party’s history as we’ve grown. But then I’ve been an active member for about 15 years and it was really a couple of people round a pub table when I got first involved in Bristol and now we are the largest party in Bristol. That’s how much we have grown over the last 15 years, we’ve got thousands and thousands more members and our processes haven’t really caught up with that. When it comes to voting, it’s one member, one vote, but also because we’re very democratic and we do like to have very detailed conversations about the motions when they come to Conference, we end up spending literally half an hour talking about bullet points and well, a comma goes in the motion and sometimes it gets very pernickety about things.

And that means our policy isn’t being updated as quickly as we need it to be. So the one about birthing, for example, is a 20 year old policy and actually, take it in the context of 20 years ago. 20 years ago, birth was quite medicalised and if you were the birthing parent, actually you didn’t really have a choice about how you gave birth. You didn’t get a choice about home birth. You didn’t get a choice, maybe your partner staying overnight in the hospital with you. You know, you didn’t get to do a water birth, you didn’t get to have those options. It was all very medicalised. In stirrups, that sort of way of doing it, and actually that’s not good either for the birthing parent. So I believe the motivation of the people who brought that policy 20 years ago was to make the birthing parent more centralised in that process, which is an admirable, good motive, even if it’s clumsily put. And maybe it could have been, had some more nuance, it needed to be updated in the last 20 years, but we’ve been focused on a whole bunch of other things in other policy areas. So there are conversations in the works about how we actually speed up our policy creation and updating of our policy. That is something that there will be motions in support to our Conference come the autumn, in order to make that possible.

But it has to be done the way that keeps that democracy at the core of what we’re doing. Because not only is there the risk of dubious actors or bad faith actors or outside forces coming and changing our policy by bringing motions to Conference, there’s also the danger of going to the extreme in the other direction, meaning that only the people in positions of power can choose our policy, which is what other parties do. And it’s what we absolutely, if we get into power or into positions of more power in the coming years, we need to make sure that we do actually hold to our values. And the only way that we can do that really is by keeping true to our roots and ensuring that we’re still the grassroots democracy that we advocate and that our members can feed in that way.

So it’s a careful balance and it is one that’s being kind of debated and worked out at the moment. But in terms of that, the substantive part of the motions that are very transphobic, in essence, that come to Conference, not one of them has ever made it through the Conference floor and to be voted on and passed. They’ve always been rejected. They mostly don’t get voted down. We do have prioritisation, where members say I really want to hear this motion. I really don’t want to hear that one. The transphobic ones get pushed down to the bottom. And if they ever do make it to the Conference floor, they get thrown out, like resoundingly, so there is that. That’s the other checks and balances. Yeah. Anybody can put something on that Conference paperwork. But it doesn’t mean it’s going to pass, even if it gets heard. And that’s the thing that really gives me faith in the party that actually the membership as a whole is like – No, absolutely not. That’s ridiculous. And that gives me huge faith. It’s a very convoluted answer to the question.

Ashleigh: In fairness, it was quite a convoluted question. Yeah, it wasn’t – when that came in through our. Discord that we run, we. Like, OK, There’s, there’s quite a lot in that one, but thank you for addressing it head on.

Alyx: So, what did you make of that, Ash?

Ashleigh: I thought that was great. I thought they were very eloquent, very knowledgeable of it. I think they’ve certainly practised some soundbites but that’s not bad, it’s much better than having an interview that just goes on and on and on. I think they were brilliant, frankly, and I think the people of Bristol East would be lucky to have them. How about you, what did you think?

Alyx: It was a lovely interview, they were straight to the point. They answered the questions and stood up to some of my extra interrogatory catching up of what they were saying there and I think they did a great job. Our standards have lowered quite a lot that just having someone answer a question is considered a win.

Ashleigh: Yeah, in a concise way is excellent.

Alyx: We almost missed this as of time of recording as just earlier this evening as of time of recording on 24 June, on the BBC it was reported that the co-leader of the Green Party, Adrian Ramsay, said that “male bodied people should not be put in female prisons”. 

Ashleigh: Yeah, that was a bit disappointing, wasn’t it. Apparently he said that the whole discussion “has become highly toxic” in a way that ignores the fact we have very high levels of violence against women and girls and growing rates of hate crime against trans people which were already really high and have been growing year on year over the last few years but no mention is made of that.

Alyx: If we wanted to really say that he should’ve looked in the eye of Sarah Jane Baker and said that.

Ashleigh: Mm.

Alyx: That’s not right to say that.

Ashleigh: Quite. Seems like a rather underresearched unresearched statement to make but what are you going to do? [Sighs] Men.

Alyx: That’s the Green Party in England and Wales, I think, but we also had some people from the Greens in Scotland.

Ashleigh: Or rather we thought we were going to but then stuff happened, a personal emergency came up for the person that we were supposed to be interviewing and we can’t just keep putting off the interviews that we do forever, this interview’s going to be late as it is so we need to just get the episode out. And unfortunately the candidate that we were to speak to from the SNP while not having a personal emergency of any kind kind of just didn’t contact us.

Alyx: Yeah they left it rather last-minute, unfortunately.

Ashleigh: They didn’t contact us at all, did they?

Alyx: Well we kept chasing, Amber did a valiant job of just constantly keeping on them to try and get somebody to get an interview but then it was the day before the 24th when we were meant to put this out and the logistics of this episode, it just meant that we couldn’t do everything last minute so we just had to not do these interviews, unfortunately. We’ve learnt some lessons on how we will do this in the future. Hopefully next election we’ll have a bit more luck on interviewing in a few more of the devolved nations.

Ashleigh: Yeah, by next election I imagine quite a lot of things are going to have changed. But there are a couple of points about the SNP and the Scottish Greens that we wanted to just mention here, just so we’re not completely ignoring the people of Scotland. So the SNP did ultimately renege on the Bute House Agreement, the Bute House Agreement was the thing that allowed the Scottish gender service to exist, essentially, so with the collapse of that agreement and their screwing around with the funding as we covered a couple of episodes ago, that has not helped at all. So that was a bit disappointing, I think. And the new leader of the SNP, John Swinney and his comments about trans people using that lovely gender-critical dogwhistle in there was very disappointing for a couple trans members of the SNP that we know quite well.

Alyx: So the main bit about the Bute House Agreement was also that it affected their power sharing with the Scottish Greens and basically if they reneged on the Bute House Agreement the SNP loses their majority in the Scottish Parliament and it just seems a bit baffling for us because the SNP is always keen about going on about how they’re a progressive party so the fact they’re leaving an agreement with a party they share values with, or used to share values with, was just stupid in my opinion, of saying we’re just going to stab the people in the back we had no need to stab in the back in the first place.

Ashleigh: I’m sure there’s a lot of complicated political reasons for why everything’s happening but just from our perspective as trans people it’s like, well, why have you done that? Come on.

Alyx: It’s just politically stupid and of course all the instability will now cost them the election.

Ashleigh: Conceivably. It’s certainly possible, isn’t it, but if they’re so keen on being known as a progressive party, why are they leaving that coalition with the Scottish Greens.

Alyx: And you can see that with the change in manifesto from the Scottish Nationalist Party manifesto as it didn’t really say anything on how they’re going to improve trans rights. It had even less details than Labour did.

Ashleigh: And the manifesto also didn’t say anything about conversion therapy, either, which given that that has been a big thing for the LGBTQ community more widely, I would’ve thought that that would’ve been at least mentioned but it wasn’t.

And of course no discussion of transphobia, or rather, trans people, in the SNP could be complete without mentioning…

[thunder sounds]

Joanna Cherry.

[dun-dun-dun and screaming]

Alyx: More of a copyright-free dramatic sound effect there. So undoubtedly if you listen to this kind of podcast, you’ve definitely heard us talk about Joanna Cherry in the past and there’s always been thoughts of why the fuck didn’t they remove them and goodness knows why, maybe they will soon, I don’t know. That seems like the most likely option.

Ashleigh: Yeah there’s definitely been rumblings of that, haven’t there, that the SNP haven’t censured or suspended Joanna Cherry because if they did she’d sue the arse off them. Isn’t she supposed to be a human rights barrister or something?

Alyx: Something along those lines allegedly but she seems to be doing such a shit job at it.

Ashleigh: Yeah she’s not the best candidate for that.

Alyx: But we’ll avoid saying any more without being sued by…

[thunder sounds]

Joanna Cherry.

[dun-dun-dun and screaming]

I’m not sure about the policies on transphobia on their definitions of such but from what we’ve seen there hasn’t been any real record of transphobia ever leading to any kind of punishment towards it at all.

Ashleigh: And obviously the SNP did just kind of roll over and let the Government have the win over the gender recognition reform, the legal battle there, they just announced that they wouldn’t be defending themselves in Court. Because obviously the Government in Westminster triggered Section 35 for the first time ever and did so over a trans rights law which the SNP said they would fight and then didn’t.

Alyx: They gave up on the first round.

Ashleigh: They did.

Alyx: They got punched in the stomach a little bit and decided nah, I’m out.

[French-style music playing]

Like France in… no, let’s not go there. I think while we were talking about the Scottish Greens earlier we gave a sense of them being almost innocent angels in all of this but there’s been some concerns about the certain treatment of a trans candidate, hasn’t there?

Ashleigh: Yes indeed, Sophie Molly, who we were in line to speak to, weren’t we? 

Alyx: As the representative for the Scottish Greens. I think the first person we managed to secure an interview with for this whole special. until she no longer became…

Ashleigh: Yes, she was. That was no longer an option. 

Alyx: Or then that was pointing towards the fact that there was complaints made about her comments towards JK Rowling.

Ashleigh: I see…

Alyx: So they were deselected, as they called JK Rowling a “torn faced cow”. After she then got deselected she then left the Greens and then claimed to have joined the SNP, but then moved to becoming an independent.

Ashleigh: So again, there’s going to have been a certain amount of politicking there. But still, it’s again with somebody like Cherry being able to make the comments that she has so-frequently made and remain in the party. Whereas someone expresses their opinion about JK Rowling, of all people, and they are kicked out. Even though the Greens are supposed to be taking a strong stance against transphobia, which is quite clearly what Rowling has now been engaging in. Because it’s been that and nothing else for a long time now.

Alyx: I feel that’s been a good summary, going over of what the situation is with all the main parties about the general election and their manifestos, their policies, their records, our thoughts on their records, their own thoughts on their own records.

Ashleigh: Yes. So we hope you found this interesting, entertaining, edifying, arousing, whatever. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. The constant talk about the transition to green energy has made it quite a lot more difficult to just press Ctrl+F to find “trans” in the manifestos. I found that slightly annoying.

Alyx: Yeah. I mean, who knows, maybe that contributes to the delay of the release of this episode.


Ashleigh: There were quite a lot of things that contributed to that, really. And not all of them were our fault. Some of them definitely were, though. Yeah, what did you think of our our lovely interviewees?

Alyx: I think the majority were very lovely. I’d certainly love to chat with them and keep in contact. And it has given us a good idea on some of the vibes of some of these parties. Some negative, but some people might say that you just have to “hold your nose and tactically vote”. So what are your thoughts on people pushing for more tactical voting?

Ashleigh: I think it’s vitally important to stop the Tories. And while I do think they’re gonna lose, I don’t think we can be complacent and assume that “ohh well, they’re gonna lose so I don’t need to vote” because actually enough people doing that will make the difference and they might not lose. So I think unfortunately we all have to vote, all those of us that can because we’ve got the right ID. Which is voter suppression, that law…although it is hilarious that Boris Johnson couldn’t vote in the most recent by-elections because he didn’t take his ID with him to the polling station.

Alyx: Uhh, leopards-eating-your-face territory.

Ashleigh: Yeah, absolutely. But unfortunately, yeah, it’s gonna suck but some people are gonna have to hold your nose and vote Labour. And I wish we had a different world, I really do. And maybe, when Labour or whoever are in the government over the next few years, can be convinced to go towards proportional representation rather first-past-the-post.

Alyx: As I said, Russia and the red button.

[01:44:28-01:44:30 Clip of “Yes, Prime Minister” plays: “Salami tactics” “Salami Tactics?”]

Alyx: Basically, Conservatives “we’re going to lose all our rights and everything’s gonna burn and die, and everyone’s gonna be on fire and be in pain constantly. We’re all gonna have to leave the UK.” Or Labour “It’s a bit uncertain, but keep an eye on the first 100 days with the EHRC” is all we’re going to be saying on that. Even I’m doubting myself when I say “maybe you should vote tactically for Labour” because I’m just… but then I’m like “but what if?” and…

Ashleigh: It depends on your constituency.

Alyx: Yes, it depends. I’ve been fortunate in my one with the three-horse race so I can take a bit more of a liberty. But check out the tactical voting website, because who knows maybe in your area you could vote out Labour and go for a different Green or something like that and then still vote out Conservative regardless.

Ashleigh: Yep, basically we have to stop the Tories and Reform.

Alyx: Yes, I thought you were going to say “reform the UK” rather than “Don’t vote Reform”! [laughter]

Ashleigh: No, no. As in “don’t vote Reform, don’t vote for the Tories”. I mean, some reform would be splendid, but not in the way that Reform are thinking about it. And that sentence has already gotten too confusing, so I’m not going to finish it. That’s enough of pre-election fun times. Alex, darling, what are we doing after the election?

Alyx: Oh joys. We’ve already been planning out what’s happening after the election. Because quite frankly regardless of who gets in, it’s going to be somewhat of a fresh start. Like, we’re going to be… if Labour gets in it’s going to essentially be we’re almost starting from scratch. We’ve got the groundwork, but we just need to sort of see what the lay-of-the-land is. What’s happening with the EHRC, who they are, what they do, get the fundamentals down on that.

See what the situation is with the Gender Recognition Act and sort of go over its history, what you can do, and other topics alongside that. So basically we’re gonna give you a refresher course on what the situation is with the fight for trans rights. So that when during the start of the Labours, or the Tories, or whoever is in majority this year, whoever comes in we’ll have the ability to come in all refreshed. With new, refreshed knowledge. We’re going to be doing a whole series of podcast episodes on this, keep your ears out and some of that will be broadcasted to you soon.

Ashleigh: And remember, we’re bumping along the date of the next podcast. And our next episode will be out on the 15th of July. So the new government will have been in place for nearly a couple of weeks by then. So hopefully we’ll have some good news for you… but I’m not holding my breath. [laughter] But we will see you soon. Look after yourselves, look after each other. We love you, mwah, and we’ll see you on the 15th.

Alyx: See you later. [extremely high-pitched] Bye!!

[end credit music plays]

Ashleigh: This episode of What the Trans?! was produced by Ashleigh Talbot and Alex Bedwell, written by Leigh Flint, Alyx and Ashleigh and presented by Amber Roberts and Alyx and Ashleigh, and was edited by Amber Devereaux and Olly Morris with music composed by Waritsara Yui Karlberg. And we would especially like to thank our producer-level Patreons, who are…

Ashleigh and Alyx: Flaming Dathne, Dr McGee, Genevieve Dickson, Rachel Harrison, Katie Reynolds, Georgia Holden-Burnett, Grabilicious, Alex T, Rootminusone, Grey, Elisabeth Anderson, Bernice Roust, Ellen Mellor, Jay Hoskins, Trowan, Ashley, Matty B, Setcab, Jane, Roberto de Prunk, Rose Absolute, Sarah, Sina, Kiki T, Dee, Skye Kilaen, Eric Widman, Bee, Jude, [01:48:11-01:48:13 French accordian plays] monsieur squirrel, Fergus Evans, anubisajackal, Camina, Brandon Craig, braykthasistim, Sian Phillips, Heidi Rearden, Ezra, Sophia VI, Lentil, Philippa Taprogge, clara vulliamy, Amelia, Corvina Ravenheart the trans metal DJ from Twitch and VR chat will play St Lucifer for props, Tabitha Jo Cox, Fiona Macdonell, Torikuso H, Murgatroid, ontologicallyunjust, Stella, Cyndergosa, Rebecca Prentice

Alyx: Sorry, Rosie, my cat I’m err… [all the crazzee reverb] CRAZZEE RICHARD

[end credit music again]

Ashleigh and Alyx: danoblivion, Florence Stanley, TheCthulhuKid, Helen_, Elle Hollingsworth bought too many magic cards, Nick Ross, Melody Nyx, Fiona Punchard, John, Nick Duffy, CB Bailey, Gordon Cameron, Ted Delphos, Wen Riverop, Vic Parsons, Patreon User, Vic Kelly, Katherine, Sabrina McVeigh, Cassius Adair, Melissa Brooks, Karaken12, April Heller, Sofie Lewis, Alexandra Lilly, Claire Scott, Ariadne Pena, Lauren O’Nions, Bernard’s Pink Jellybean, Leynos, and Chris Hubley.

Ashleigh: Thank you to you all!

Alyx: [extremely high-pitched] Byee!

Alyx: Thank you all for watching!

[end credit music cuts]

Ashleigh: LISTENING!

[Laughter and rambling and jokes about being too used to YouTube fading out]