Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

When is a woman a woman?

By Russell Grenning - posted Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Back in late May, a British man who became a member of the increasingly left-wing UK Labour Party after being, in his word, "inspired" by leader Jeremy Corbyn, decided to stand for office in his local Basingstoke constituency Labour Party. Hardly news, right? It happens in all political parties every day of the week.

David Lewis, 45, a rather cheery and very masculine looking bloke complete with bald head, beard and moustache, caused rather more than minor local ripples when he announced that he was actually standing for election as the "Women's Officer", a post which Labor rules say can only be held by a woman. Ordinarily, Mr Lewis' seemingly quixotic bid would have been dismissed as that of a crank or, at the very least, of a person with a very peculiar sense of humour.

What propelled his election bid into the national headlines was the fact that his constituency organisation actually accepted his candidature. Understandably, the position of "Women's Officer" in the British Labour Party involves encouraging women to join the party and generally speaking for women.


The British Labour Party, firmly in the grip of political correctness, has a policy of self-determination – if people define themselves as women, the party is bound to recognise those persons as women without the slightest question, verification or scrutiny of that definition. This is all in the noble causes of diversity and inclusiveness and is said to be supportive of transwomen who are people who were born male but who later decide that they want to be recognised as women with or without any surgery. Serious progressives who promote and endorse these causes say that self-identification is right and fair because any demands made of trans people to prove their gender identity are discriminatory and intrusive.

Mr Lewis explained to understandably curious British media, "I self-identify as a woman on Wednesdays, between 6.50am when my alarm goes off and around midnight when I go to bed."

Yes, seriously, he said that. And what makes him a woman on Wednesdays?

"My womanness is expressed by my saying, 'I self-identify as a woman' now and again on Wednesdays. I make no changes to my appearance. I keep my name, David and my male pronouns. I wear the same sort of clothes I wear the rest of the week. I keep my beard. I enjoy the full womanness of my beard."

Rather understandably, many Labor Party women - particularly those who self-identify as feminists - were outraged and Mr Lewis' membership of the party was suspended after the national news broke. However, significantly, Labour's National Executive Committee has insisted that its policy of treating people - that is men- who self-identify as women will stand. Nobody would or could explain to David why his party membership was suspended because, well, it could be seen as transphobic or something and nobody in the brave new world of the British Labour Party would want to be outed as transphobic or, well, something.

If Mr Lewis has been having fun tying his beloved Labour Party in knots over who is and who is not a woman just consider the case of Lily Madigan. Last year Ms Madigan – born Liam and then aged 19 – became the first transgender woman to occupy the role of "Women's Officer" her Labour Party constituency organisation. This is the same role Mr Lewis was seeking.


But if there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy and double standards about Mr Lewis being suspended from the party because he said he was a woman and Ms Madigan actually being elected "Women's Officer" despite being born a man, it becomes even more bizarre. Ms Madigan actually demanded and achieved the removal of a real actually born female Labour Party member as "Women's Officer" before winning the subsequent election because this ousted female "Women's Officer" had allegedly "transphobic" views. The ousted female "Women's Officer" had been a woman for decades since birth while Lily at that stage had been a transwoman for a few months but, obviously, must know much much more about the challenges and difficulties of being a woman.

Wrap your head around this if you can – a man who said he is a woman demanded and achieved the removal of a woman from her post and then got the post instead. This, it seems, is modern British Labor Party "feminism". Again, only recently, The Times revealed that Ms Madigan had demanded the removal of another actual female "Women's Officer" in another Labour Party constituency because she (Lily, formerly Liam) had been offended by that woman's views on gender identity.

After winning the party job, Ms Madigan said that she would "give women a voice" inside the party. Yes, the job of LGBTQ (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transsexual/Queer) Officer was also available but Ms Madigan declined to contest the "Women's Officer" position because, as she said, it was important "to represent the views of a diverse group of women".

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

29 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Russell Grenning

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 29 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy