General News

Labour co-chair resigns over transphobia controversy

Rachel Badham January 30, 2021

Dr Heather Peto, a trans woman who was the co-chair of LGBT+ Labour, has resigned amid allegations that transphobia is becoming increasingly common in the political party. In Peto’s resignation letter, as cited by PinkNews, she says she has been “directly discriminated” against, adding: “I discovered that despite being co-chair I had been excluded from information and decisions by my other core officers. This exclusion included information and decisions about transgender matters.”

Eden Ladley, a trans officer of LGBT+ Labour, disputed Peto’s claims: “I feel that I’ve been well supported by LGBT+ Labour since being elected as trans officer in November, especially on work surrounding GRA reform and tackling transphobia in the party – which is why I do not recognise Heather’s allegations or find them plausible. I am determined that we do our best for trans people in the Labour Party and the wider country.”

Dr Heather Peto

Labour has recently been criticised for failing to address internal transphobia, a handful of incidents seeing party members express anti-trans views or align themselves with trans-exclusionary groups. Labour MP Rosie Duffield resigned over a transphobia scandal, and London-based councillor, Dave Ward, publicly shared his support for the controversial anti-trans group, the LGB Alliance. As a result, the party recently launched Labour Trans Equality – a campaign with the goal to improve trans and gender diverse representation in Labour. 

Alex Beverley, chair of LGBT+ Labour, responded to Peto’s decision, saying: “We are very sorry to see Heather stand down and thank her for her time and work on the committee. As a committee and organisation, we remain committed to protecting and extending the rights of all LGBT+ people and have a broad set of priorities for the year ahead. Our officers and committee will continue working with our excellent trans officer to tackle transphobia in politics and the UK.”