Councillor Kevin Price, Former Cambridge Deputy Leader, and Councillor Carina O'Reilly have regularly retweeted transphobic comments

Content Note: Detailed discussion of transphobia

Cambridge University Liberal Association (CULA) released a statement last Sunday (27/09) condemning the “shocking and pervasive” transphobia among leading members of the Cambridge Labour Party, including prominent councillors.

The statement accuses the Cambridge Labour Party, who currently control Cambridge City Council, of “tolerating a stream of transphobia by leading members of its council group.”

CULA particularly highlights that the Labour Party have failed “to take action against former Cambridge Deputy Leader, Councillor Kevin Price, who has been regularly retweeting anti-trans content for at least six months.”

Price has retweeted accounts which call trans people “fetishists” and describe the phrase ‘transwomen are women’ as a “mindless cult statement.”

Similarly to Price’s endorsing of transphobic tweets, Labour councillor Carina O’Reilly in June tweeted the following: “‘Woman’ is not a costume. ‘Woman’ is not an idea in a man’s head. ‘Woman’ is not a pink brain.”

A CULA press release also outlined that Price has liked tweets promoting a crowdfunder created by former Cambridge Labour councillor, Ann Sinnott, “which seeks to challenge the right of trans women to access women’s spaces and services.” The crowdfunder, at the time of publication, has raised over £40,000.

An LGBT+ member of Cambridge University Liberal Association commented on Price’s twitter account: “More of his recent tweets are about the ‘threat’ of trans women than talk 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 condemned “the failure of the Labour group to stand with the trans community”, commenting that “transphobia in Cambridge Labour appears to be rife – permeating every level of the group.”

CULA emphasised that “no action has been taken by the Labour group towards Price or O’Reilly, the former of whom, until recently, occupied a top leadership role before deciding to step down...CULA call on Cambridge Labour to suspend these councillors for their hateful statements which attack the safety of their constituents.”

The CULA statement also called on the Cambridge University Labour Club to “publicly condemn” the local Labour party and questioned whether members would “continue to campaign for this Labour council group while they tolerate and indulge in anti-trans bigotry?”

Meanwhile former Cambridge Liberal Democrat MP and the Founding Director of the Intellectual Forum in Jesus College, Dr Julian Huppert, added, “Transphobia is utterly unacceptable. There is simply no excuse for targeting and victimising people.”

However, while Cambridge SU’s two Trans Representatives stressed to Varsity that “transphobia is sadly present throughout the current political climate” and that they welcome elected representatives being held to account in Cambridge, they also highlighted concerns about transphobia “lately being used as a political tool, rather than brought up out of genuine concern for the lives and wellbeing of trans people.”


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The SU’s Trans Representatives continued: “Recently we have seen a lot of overt focus on the transphobia of individuals rather than examining the systemic ways in which society makes the lives of trans people harder, and we would encourage everyone to hold their elected representatives accountable to making important material changes that improve the lives of trans people, such as better NHS services and GRA reform, and community support for trans people both locally and nationally.”

In response to the allegations of transphobia by CULA, a local Labour spokesperson told Varsity that “the Labour Party takes all allegations of discrimination - including transphobia - extremely seriously. Labour is absolutely committed to advancing trans rights and we continue to support updating the GRA. Everyone should have the right to live with respect and dignity in an equal and inclusive society.”

Cambridge University Labour Club have been contacted for comment.

Headline and photo were modified on 30/09/2020