Madigan’s Motivation as Women’s Officer: Censoring Women

Lily Madigan, a 19 year-old from Kent who identifies as a woman, was recently elected as a Labour women’s officer amidst criticisms from those who argue that the teen is unqualified to serve the best interests of women.

Madigan has also been the center of a controversy involving women’s officer Anne Ruzylo, against whom Madigan lodged a formal complaint of transphobia. Ruzylo became a target for online harassment and resigned from her position, and the executive committee followed suit in solidarity. “If we can’t talk about gender laws and get shut down on that,” said Ruzylo, “what’s next?”

In a recent interview with Channel 4, when asked about motivations for applying for the role of women’s officer, Madigan replied: “Looking at some other women’s officers that I very much disagreed with kind of really pushed me into applying for the role.”

Throughout the interview, Madigan fails to mention a single issue faced by women that the teen would seek to address. The sole motivation mentioned by Madigan was disagreement with the views of women.

The significance of this statement is underscored by Madigan’s support of no-platforming differing perspectives. This is relevant to the point made by some that Madigan is inexperienced and adds to concerns that Madigan will use the new position to silence women’s criticisms of the Gender Recognition Act, which Theresa May is planning to reform to allow for gender self-declaration without medical intervention. Many women, including journalist and feminist activist Julie Bindel, have spoken out about the possible dangers this poses to women, who under law are a protected class based on sex, rather than gender. Bindel and others have pointed out that gender protections remove sex-based protections from law and therefore place women at a higher risk of violence from predatory men.

It is worth speculating whether a woman, rather than a trans-identified teenager, would be elected for a representative position solely on the basis of censoring the views of women she disagrees with. Feminism, the movement for dismantling structures of male rule — the patriarchy — should not be centered around silencing women, but rather built on lifting up women whose experiences and views will inevitably differ. It is troubling that Madigan seems more dedicated to no-platforming women who speak about sex-based oppression than to any other agenda.