Why gay rights is not a class issue

It is not ‘homophobic’ for socialists to focus their attention on those contradictions that concern the whole working class in its struggle for socialism.

Judith Gough, British Ambassador to Ukraine, at Pride Kiev 2017, shows how gay rights are used by the bourgeoisie as she claims it to be "Another step forward for equality in Ukraine".

This text is an excerpt from a speech made by a member of the central committee to the party’s eighth congress in September.

The speech was part of a long discussion on the topic of identity politics in general and LGBT+ activism in particular. At the end of the discussion, the central committee’s emergency motion on identity politics was overwhelmingly adopted by the congress. Other motions on the topic, asking the party to adopt LGBT+ activism into its programme, were overwhelmingly voted down.


First of all, I want to address the issue of why we give priority to the question of the oppression of women and to fighting racism but do not give the issue of LGBT rights the same priority.

Primary contradictions affecting our struggle for socialism

The answer to this is straightforward. Our party exists to promote the interests of the working class as a class, and to assist it in overthrowing the rule of the bourgeois class and establishing its own class rule. In that context, the question of LGBT is not a class question.

The question of women’s oppression, that is a class question, because when society was divided into classes, then as a result of that, women became the domestic slaves of men, and the only way of finally getting rid of that status is to abolish classes. Therefore the interests of working-class women are intimately bound up with the struggle of the working class as a whole for its emancipation.

Women’s liberation is absolutely 100 percent a class question.

The question of racism is also a class question, related to imperialism. As imperialism has gone all over the world, in order to mobilise the white workers at home to help them in their rape of the whole world, the colour question has become: “Well you know, these people are black, they’re inferior.” If white workers continue to harbour such prejudices, however, it will be impossible to bring about sufficient unity in the working class for it to be able to overcome the power of bourgeois rule.

That is why the question of racism is very much a class question.

Contradictions among the people and how they are manipulated by imperialism

Now the question of people being unpleasant to others who are a bit different, that is not a class question. We don’t approve of being mean to people who are different. We don’t approve of mocking people because they have wooden legs or are different in any other way. It tends to be a feature of human nature, but of course we are opposed to people being persecuted for being a bit different to the norm.

Only a minority of people are gay, and only a very tiny minority of people have gender dysphoria. However, these people are harmless to society and there is absolutely no need to persecute them.

The western imperialist bourgeoisie has suddenly discovered and embraced gay and transgender rights, which only yesterday it was vigorously opposing, to the point that today it is those who raise even the slightest question over even the most absurd demands of self-appointed LGBT activists who find themselves persecuted.

The advantage to the bourgeoisie of its newly-discovered enthusiasm for gay rights is that it can use them to castigate oppressed countries who stick to traditional religious prejudices on this issue whenever they fail to fall in line with imperialist demands.

Needless to say, the full force of this ‘human rights’ assault never falls on such client states of imperialism as Saudi Arabia, but only on those countries that resist imperialist hegemony. An excessive obsession with LGBT rights can therefore lead the unwary into backing imperialism against anti-imperialist governments.

LGBT ideology wants more than equal rights

But, to return to the question of the demands of the self-appointed LGBT activists. Unlike ordinary people who happen to be gay or transgender, they are not happy with simply being allowed to live their lives in peace and without discrimination; it is not just a question of men and women wanting to be accepted even though they’re different.

For the so-called activists, it is a question of going far further than that, to the point of absurdity. Transgender activists want us, for instance, to encourage little boys and little girls who prefer the lifestyle that society offers to people of the opposite sex to the one that accords to their own sex to actually physically mutilate themselves in order to achieve the appearance of a person of the other sex.

Now I was saying earlier to another comrade that both she and I, when we were eight, nine and ten, we cut our hair short and we wanted to be boys; we desperately wanted to be boys. Well, you know, in those days it was just accepted that some girls wanted to be boys, and nobody thought that strange in the least.

An example was the character Georgina (George) in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. They were called tomboys and expected to grow out of it, which for the most part they did. Generally speaking, these girls on reaching puberty were more than happy to be girls and not boys, and to have boyfriends and not girlfriends. Only a tiny minority would have genuine gender dysphoria.

It was of course much harder for little boys who preferred the lifestyle offered to little girls, and they would no doubt have been pressurised into concealing that preference, but there’s no saying that in their case, too, puberty would change everything for most of them.

Nowadays, any ‘tomboy’ would be encouraged to think: “Well, have an operation, have hormones, have an artificial extension” – as a young child. That would honestly ruin their lives. If that had happened to me and I had been allowed to have hormone treatment to make myself more into a boy when I was clearly a girl, then it would have ruined my life.

Gay workers fight for socialism as workers, not as ‘gays’

We do want to represent the whole of the working class, including those people who happen to be LGBT. Not accepting the absurdities being promoted by self-appointed ‘activists’ means acting in the real interests of the working class, including those who happen to be LGBT, not against them, however genuinely such ‘activists’ may believe in the absurdities they are promoting.

Actually, the working class as a whole has a lot of common sense, and their attitude will be: “I’m sorry but a man’s a man and a woman’s a woman and you’re not going to be able to mess me around.” Any party that is claiming to be serious, but actually expects workers to believe that a fully equipped male who hasn’t even had an operation is actually female and ought to be allowed to come into women’s changing rooms, is going to be laughed out of court and told: “Look, get lost. This is not a serious party. This is not a party that I can trust to represent my interests, to overthrow capitalism and get a better life for everybody – including the LGBTs.”

In fighting for the interests of the working class as a whole, LGBTs will obviously also benefit. LGBTs would be much better off if everyone had a job. LGBT people won’t be able to say: “Well I’m not able to get a job because of my sexuality.” If everybody has decent healthcare, there is nothing special for LGBTs. We can honestly say that under socialism there will be no ‘LGBT rights’ because everybody will have full rights; end of story.

Silencing debate doesn’t vanquish existing prejudice, it simply creates fresh hostility

The other point that is very upsetting about the way LGBT ‘activists’ behave, the ones who are pushing this ideology, is that you are not allowed to have any dissent. The minute you disagree, you’re a ‘fascist’. All sorts of terrible words are used to describe the fact that you disagree with them. Is that how we want to proceed? Is that how you win hearts and minds? That we can’t debate; we can’t even raise it?

Recently there has been an argument in the Girl Guides. The Girl Guides have been told that a man, a fully equipped hairy male with all the necessary appendages, who self-identifies as a ‘woman’, is perfectly entitled to take young girls out on camping trips without supervision.

Now, can you really accept that nobody is even allowed to protest about that? Nobody is allowed to say: “Well I’m sorry but I’m unhappy about that. I think men are men actually, and I don’t want young girls exposed to the danger that that conceivably could produce. I’m sure this particular person is a lovely person, my daughter would probably be perfectly all right with him/her/them, but I can’t take the risk, I’m sorry.”

Frankly, by attempting to force absurd views onto people, ‘activists’ can only succeed in rousing hostility against LGBT people – even those who themselves oppose the absurd demands being made in their name.

And finally, if I’m a man because I say I’m a man – if that is the criterion, then that is surely the purist idealism … and I don’t think I need to say more.