By members of Socialist Alternative Merseyside
Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull, a.k.a. Posie Parker, is a vicious transphobe who has been on a global speaking tour, holding rallies and campaigning against the rights of trans people.
When it was announced that she was going to bring her carnival of bigotry to Liverpool, local campaigners moved into action. A well-advertised counter-demo was thrown together at the last minute and widely advertised, including by Socialist Feminist Alternative (SFA). Local SFA members messaged around our Instagram followers and mobilised our own members in solidarity.
Parker has associated herself with far-right groups and individuals, including racist thug ‘Tommy Robinson’. Previous rallies held by her campaign attracted neo-Nazi activists, as well as campaigners against abortion rights. Her own far-right sympathies have been public knowledge since 2018, when she came out attacking Muslim people.
What had been promoted as a ‘mass rally’ of ‘concerned women’ in the end turned into only a couple of dozen at most. They were massively outnumbered by the hundreds who countered them in defence of LGBTQ+ rights.
Counter-protests like these show the groundswell of sympathy that exists for trans people, and those facing the hardest edge of the right-wing Tory offensive on the most oppressed. No amount of divisive ‘culture war’ attacks can eradicate the instinctive feelings of solidarity. However, we need to be clear. This reactionary offensive will continue to rage and even ramp up, as capitalism slides into deeper crisis.
Given the horrendous onslaught of the Right and its backlash against trans rights and #MeToo, we cannot just rely on counter-protesting whenever these ideas make their way to our towns and cities. We need to build a sustained movement which can go on the offensive against the Tories and their transphobic, misogynistic system.
It is no coincidence that on the very same weekend that these events were taking place, Sunak as Prime Minister took to the stage at the Tory Party conference to declare “a man is a man and a woman is a woman”. They now claim to be ‘listening to women’s concerns’. But over the years, continuous revelations have highlighted a rotten culture of rape and sexual abuse at every level of their party! The hypocrisy of the Tories on this question is unbearable.
Braverman meanwhile raged against so-called “gender ideology”. The root causes of this are quite clear. As their system hurtles into crisis, the Tory establishment rub their hands knowing that Parker and her ilk scapegoat the oppressed – hence the endless positive coverage of Parker’s vile nonsense in the capitalist press.
We can expect no resistance from the Labour party. Keir Starmer has come under fire for repeated transphobic dog whistles. He even went as far to voice agreement with the Tories’ draconian plans to force teachers to ‘out’ trans kids in their schools: “I think parents would want to know what’s going on.” And despite the fact that recent YouGov polls show 72% of Labour voters agree that people should be able to identify as a different gender than assigned, in July, Labour dropped its commitment to self-ID for trans people.
This is why SFA stressed on the day the need for mass protests in every city against transphobia and misogyny on 25 November. Around the country, SFA, along with other local feminist and LGBTQ+ rights organisations, have already called demonstrations. To link the struggle against gender violence with the struggle against capitalist oppression, we are linking up with health campaigners in the city, to demand trans-inclusive healthcare now, as part of a fully-funded, publicly-owned NHS. Working with survivors’ groups and student societies, we will demand a reversal of all cuts to refuges, and specialist services for migrants and LGBTQ+ survivors of abuse.
This whole system means violence against women, trans people and the whole working class. To fight the rightwing backlash, we need a socialist feminist struggle for fundamental change.