Vowing to toughen up the sentencing guidelines for abuse and violence targeted at trans people, Labour would make attacks motivated by hatred of the victim’s gender identity into ‘aggravated offences’. This would bring transphobic abuse into line with assault and harassment motivated by hatred on the grounds of race or religion, which are punishable by up to two years in prison.
Last night, a senior Tory source said: ‘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.
‘We’ve seen people arrested for misgendering but this isn’t enough for Labour – they want them locked up for two years.
Caroline Ffiske from Conservatives for Women said: ‘Thousands of women dispute the notion of ‘gender identity’ and particularly the idea that it should be prioritised over biological sex.
‘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’.
‘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 offence?’
Last year a Christian preacher was convicted of harassing a transgender woman by calling her a ‘man’ and a ‘gentleman’. David McConnell was given a 12-month community order for leaving Farrah Munir ’emotionally distraught’ after an argument between the two while he was preaching on a street in Leeds.
His conviction was quashed after magistrates ruled there was no evidence he intended to harass her.
Again, her conviction was overturned on appeal after judges ruled that it was ‘a grossly disproportionate and entirely unjustified state interference with free speech’.
Labour remains committed to its transphobia plan despite abandoning its previous pledge to introduce gender ‘self-ID’.
Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, said: ‘The Conservatives are failing to protect LGBT+ people with their inability to get a handle on hate crime, including violent hate crime. Labour will strengthen the law to ensure the perpetrators of anti-LGBT+ hate can no longer dodge longer sentences. And our fully funded plan to recruit 13,000 more neighbourhood police and community support officers would increase safety for everyone.’
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