Using the wrong pronouns to describe someone could be penalized with much stricter sentencing under a UK Labor government, as part of a tactic to reduce abuse against trans people.
If voted into UK office, the Labor government may institute jail sentences for refusing to use preferred pronouns for trans people.
Combating Hate-Based Crime
The controversial proposal may be part of the party’s policy to give harsher sentencing for hate-based crimes against trans people.
This would make all acts of abuse and violence against trans people based on their gender identity an “aggravated offense.”
Overly Harsh Sentencing?
However critics of the policy fear that it may lead to excessive sentencing, including jail time of up to 2 years.
This sentencing could be used against those who refuse to use preferred pronouns and chosen names of trans people, and instead use their birth gender and “deadnames,” or names used prior to transition.
“Inability to Handle Hate Crimes”
This news comes in the wake of comments made by Anneliese Dodds, Labor’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, who said “The Conservatives are failing to protect LGBT+ people with their inability to get a handle on hate crime, including violent hate crime.”
No Sentence Dodging
She continued on, pledging that the Labor party “will strengthen the law to ensure the perpetrators of anti-LGBT+ hate can no longer dodge longer sentences.”
Community Outreach and Policing
“Our fully funded plan to recruit 13,000 more neighborhood police and community support officers would increase safety for everyone,” Dodd said in conclusion.
But it is the potential policing around language that has opponents concerned.
Overzealous Pursuit of Punishment
A senior Tory source has responded to the potential policy, saying “Some police forces have shown themselves overzealous in the pursuit of supposed hate crimes and this reform would send them a signal to go even further.”
It’s Not Enough
‘We’ve seen people arrested for misgendering but this isn’t enough for Labour,” the source pressed on. “They want them locked up for two years.’
Conservatives for Women
Caroline Ffiske, representative for Conservatives for Women, has also spoken out about the purported reform.
“Thousands of women dispute the notion of ‘gender identity’ and particularly the idea that it should be prioritized over biological sex,” she said.
“We have serious and legitimate concerns over being expected, in the workplace, when using public services or in private life, to refer to a man as ‘she/her,” she continued.
“Is there a risk with this policy that a woman could be accused of harassment for correctly sexing a man and then for that to be treated as an aggravated offense?”
Recent Issues for Trans People
This news comes in the wake of a string of legal incidents involving abusive communications against trans people in the UK, as well as general controversy around gender identity issues.
Street Harassment in Leeds
One involved a Christian preacher in Leeds named David McConnell who was issued a 12-month community order for harassing trans woman Farrah Munir.
He left her “emotionally distraught” after referring to her as a “man” and a “gentleman.”
Unjustified State Interference
In another case, self-proclaimed ‘radical feminist’ Kate Scottow was arrested after calling a transgender activist a ‘man’ and a ‘pig in a wig’ via Twitter.
However, her conviction was overturned and ruled “a grossly disproportionate and entirely unjustified state interference with free speech.”
Wait and See
As such, the Labor Party remains committed to a policy plan that aims to target and reduce transphobia in the UK.
How exactly this will play out if Labor comes out on top in the 2024 elections is yet to be seen.
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