Published: 10:00, 10 August 2020
| Updated: 15:06, 10 August 2020
An MP at the centre of a transphobia row has been urged to apologise by campaigners after she said "only women have a cervix”.
The controversy involving Canterbury's Labour member, Rosie Duffield, erupted after she liked a tweet written by television host Piers Morgan.
The former newspaper editor took umbrage with a CNN post that referred to “individuals with a cervix” in a reminder about the importance of smear testing.
Mr Morgan replied to the tweet, asking: “Do you mean women?”
And now, Pride Canterbury bosses have written an open letter to the MP after failing to receive a response from her for several days.
The missive reads: "Your silence is deafening.
"We are aware that there are many people in positions of power, and more still who are not, that hold misguided understandings of trans individuals.
"As someone in a position of power, you have a duty to ensure that all constituents are represented and feel safe, and not to alienate anyone or any group of people just because they are different from yourself.
"Using inclusive language is not intended to invalidate cis-women, but rather include those to whom this also applies, but who don’t identify as cis-gender.
"For example, on the NHS website, the phrasing 'all women and people with a cervix' is used.
"This ensures that the important message of screening is understood by as many as possible."
After endorsing Mr Morgan's view, Ms Duffield was flooded with complaints from social media users arguing that the comment undermined the status of transgender men.
"You have a duty to ensure that all constituents are represented and feel safe, and not to alienate anyone or any group of people just because they are different from yourself..."
Responding to the criticism, the Canterbury MP wrote: “I’m a ‘transphobe’ for knowing that only women have a cervix....?!”
However, a follower replied with a screenshot taken from the NHS website outlining how transgender men with cervixes are invited to the doctor’s surgery for smear tests.
The parliamentarian then added: “Of course this applies to some people, they’ll know who they are and this advice is great.
“But the implication that one cannot describe oneself as a woman without inviting a pile-on is beyond ridiculous now.
“Almost 52% of the UK population are women.”
The 49-year-old labelled the opposition she received as a “tedious communist pile-on” and said it was “hardly a suitable discussion for Twitter”.
But the Pride Canterbury Committee says her comment was "at best problematic and at worst transphobic".
It added: "We should not be creating additional barriers to healthcare. Making those individuals who need to attend such screenings uncomfortable is simply not acceptable.
"28% of trans people were a victim of crime in England and Wales in the last year. Stonewall suggested that a surge in anti-trans rhetoric could be linked to this. This is simply intolerable and we ask you to stand with us and make a positive difference.
"We politely request that you withdraw this comment from your Twitter account and provide a genuine apology for the offence caused.
"The LGBT+ Community of Canterbury awaits your response."
Following the controversy last week, Archbishop of Cantebury Justin Welby defended the “honest and kind” MP, saying: “She does not seek to demean others.”
Ms Duffield declined to comment.