General News

Lib Dem activist quits diversity ambassador position due to transphobia

Rachel Badham February 11, 2021

Trans activist and Liberal Democrat party member, Jasmine Joséphine Sakura-Rose, has quit her position as a diversity ambassador for the 50:50 Parliament programme, saying the group hosts anti-trans speakers and ignores the voices of trans and non-binary people. 50:50 Parliament was set up in 2013 and aims to “achieve an inclusive gender-balanced parliament” by encouraging political parties to be more inclusive. 

However, Sakura-Rose criticised the group in a resignation letter, saying: “It has become abundantly clear to me that while 50:50 is perfectly happy to use women and non-binary people from diverse backgrounds for publicity purposes, when it comes down to listening to those women and non-binary people it is the viewpoints of cis white women who are privileged over others…I cannot be a part of an organisation that thinks it’s acceptable to use trans and non-binary people, but does not listen to them. I cannot be a part of an organisation that thinks diversity is just having faces you can use to get your ‘diversity cookies’.”

She also condemned 50:50’s tendency to platform anti-trans speakers: “Despite having already raised the issue of 50:50 Parliament hosting known transphobes and ignoring the voices of trans women and non-binary people over this 50:50 Parliament has persisted in hosting transphobes. When asked if they’d be willing to host a racist over the objections of its Diversity Ambassadors I was told that there would be a discussion involved in whether to host that speaker. A discussion. On whether to host a racist.” 50:50 have not yet responded to Sakura-Rose’s resignation. 

Her accusations against 50:50 Parliament come after a handful of UK political parties, including Labour and the SNP, have been accused of failing to address internal transphobia. Dr Heather Peto, a trans woman who was the co-chair of LGBT+ Labour, recently quit amid allegations that transphobia is becoming increasingly common in the political party. As a result, the party recently launched Labour Trans Equality – a campaign with the goal to improve trans and gender diverse representation in Labour.