THERE was a certain inevitability that Labour would eventually choose to march behind the Conservatives into the current moral panic over transgender people.

The signs have been there long enough – though as has become the standard for Keir Starmer’s Labour, actually pinning them down on a defined policy position was easier said than done.

Yet here we now are, with Labour and the Conservatives alike choosing to dump their commitments to the transgender community for the sake of a few extra votes from Middle England.

Still, finding ourselves side-by-side with the migrants, the students, the renters and everyone else Labour has tossed beneath the battle bus, we’re in good company at least. The transformation of the Labour Party from the vehicle of the working class to the most milquetoast of British political entities continues apace.

For as long as trans people remain the hot-button issue for the perpetually outraged, there will never be space in Starmer’s Labour for us, nor for anyone facing so much manufactured outrage as the contemporary LGBTQ+ community.

Beset on all sides by the Conservatives and the media empires that support them, we remain caught in the crossfire of a culture war none of us wanted. One that it appears Westminster, on all fronts, will now maintain to the detriment of us all.

In this U-turn, Labour have condemned the transgender community to years of continued abuse. Even if they do win the next election – and goodness knows Labour seem to be doing their best to whittle down what lead they have – the policies they now support with regards to trans people are so close to the Conservatives in practice as to be pragmatically indistinguishable.

There is no hope of positive change in Westminster for the foreseeable. Not while the Conservatives whip up anger and suspicion toward the gays and the theys of Britain to satisfy the far-right factions of their base. And not while Labour meekly follow along.

And despite the rhetoric of shadow equalities minister Anneliese Dodds, that’s exactly what Labour have chosen to do. Laying out her position in The Guardian last week, Dodds framed the party’s U-turn on supporting a system of self-declaration as modernising and reforming the Gender Recognition Act when in practice, Labour’s proposals change almost nothing about the current intrusive, dehumanising process trans people must suffer through in order to get a gender recognition certificate.

Dodds claims that this “is not about doing what is easy, it’s about doing what is right” yet she could not have picked an easier path for her party – a commitment to the most minute changes possible so as to not draw the ire of the radicalised gender-critical movement; to ignoring international best practice while boosting the same prejudices that frame every trans person as a threat and predator; to following the Conservatives in considering changes to the Equality Act that would make it harder for transgender people to navigate the world safely.

To believe this was the “right” path, Dodds would need to have made the active decision to ignore and discard evidence from Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal and the many other countries where a system of self-declaration for trans people has been working without issue for years.

This is not the hard path. It’s the path of least resistance. The hard path – the right path – would be to stand with a community that is under siege by the far right, and to have listened to the evidence. Dodds and the Labour Party seem to have no interest in doing either.

But what truly crossed the line for me this past week was Dodds’s dismissal of the Scottish Government’s attempt to pass the GRR Bill, only for them to be blocked by the Conservative Government.

The GRR Bill in Scotland took years to get through – with the SNP being dragged a good part of the way into moving the bill forward after stalling on it repeatedly. When it did pass, with the support of members of every party of the Scottish Parliament, it did so after being one of the most scrutinised and consulted on pieces of legislation in Scottish parliamentary history. Cavalier, it is not. Yet Dodds flippantly describes the SNP’s approach as such.

If she had asked the Scottish trans community their position before going to print, she would have found voices that supported what the SNP had done and, importantly, voices that criticised the SNP for falling short on what was needed in many areas. But Dodds has no interest in speaking with us, nor in listening to us. Instead we are spoken over, and used to further Labour’s agenda.

It is not the SNP who have failed us on reforming the Gender Recognition Act, but you, Anneliese.

Westminster’s total failure to treat the UK’s LGBTQ+ community with respect is, in itself, another argument for independence from the broken British political system. But more than that, the failures of Labour and the Conservatives mark years and years of work ahead of us just to take us back to where we started.

And inevitably, when this moral panic ends, it will be the same politicians who issue historic apologies to the trans community for failing us – as they did for Section 28 before now, and the criminalisation of homosexuality before that. Though better by far they realise sooner than later, and spare us all the needless misery.