Labour councillor resigns rather than agreeing that ‘trans women are women’

Patrick Kelleher
·4-min read

A Labour councillor was so incensed by a motion in support of trans rights that he resigned from his post rather than voting in its favour.

Kevin Price resigned in a virtual address to Cambridge City Council on Thursday (October 22). In his resignation speech, he said he did not agree with the motion’s assertion that trans women are women, and said passing it would “send a chill down the spines of many women”.

The motion – which was ultimately passed with 30 in favour, four abstentions and none against – read: “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary individuals are non-binary.

“We believe in the dignity of all people and their right to respect and equality of opportunity. We value the strength that comes with difference and the positive contribution that diversity brings to our community.

“Our aspiration is for Cambridge and the wider region to be safe, welcoming and inclusive.”

Labour councillor Kevin Price claimed cisgender women are ‘unable to raise legitimate questions and concerns’ about trans rights.

Kevin Price – who was previously condemned by the Cambridge University Liberal Association (CULA) for retweeting “transphobic and hateful” content – said in his resignation speech that it is “indisputable” that trans rights are human rights.

However, he went on to claim that it is “foolish to pretend that there are not wildly differing views in the current debate” on trans rights.

The former Labour councillor referenced ideas put forward by anti-trans “gender critical feminists” in his speech, suggesting that many cis women believe their rights will be eroded by advances in trans rights.

He went on to claim that gender critical feminists are “unable to raise legitimate questions and concerns without a hostile response”, and referenced the backlash Labour MP Rosie Duffield and Harry Potter author JK Rowling have faced.

“I was astounded that the public information pack produced for this motion stated, in my view unbelievably for a local council document, that the council should use its its own communication channels to counter transphobic reporting in the national media,” Price said.

“Coverage of government consultations, responses and issues around potential legislation is not transphobia but the role of journalism.”

Price continued: “The inclusion of the first three sentences of this motion will send a chill down the spines of the many women who believe that there is a conflict of rights and who want to be able to discuss those in a calm and evidence-based way.”

He went on to reference the recent decision by World Rugby to ban trans women from the sport as an example of a “calm” discussion.

Price said he had never voted against a Labour motion in his 10 years on the council and said he would not break that principle now.

“There are also times when principle, or conscience if you prefer, myst be weighed against the pull of a party. In all conscience, I cannot vote for this motion or this amendment. I have therefore decided I am standing down as a Cambridge City Labour councillor with immediate effect.”

Price’s resignation comes just weeks after he was condemned by a university political society for retweeting ‘transphobic’ content.

In a statement released in September, the University of Cambridge’s Liberal Democrat society slammed Price for retweeting “transphobic” content, saying he had done so “every other day”.

“These include tweets attacking the LGBT+ charity Stonewall for supporting trans rights, and retweeting accounts describing people who are trans as ‘fetishists’,” the statement said.

The group criticised him for focusing on the supposed “threat” of trans rights instead of talking about Cambridge or the council.

“To see the Labour Party in Cambridge condone such bigotry is shocking. They expect the votes of the LGBT+ community but throw it right back in our face. Why don’t they suspend him?”

CULA said Price had liked tweets praising former Cambridge Labour councillor Ann Sinnott, who launched a crowdfunding campaign to challenge trans rights.

“Transphobia in Cambridge Labour appears to be rife – permeating every level of the group,” CULA’s statement said.

The controversy comes just weeks after LGBT+ Labour called for “swift action” to be taken against Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield over her anti-trans comments.

Duffield has been plagued by accusations of transphobia since the beginning of August, when she waded into an online row about who has a cervix. Since then, two staffers in her office have resigned, citing her “overtly transphobic” views as the reason.