This piece is not written to influence how you vote in the general Election on June 8th. it’s too late for that and in my humble opinion getting May out of office is the prime requirement. My purpose was to understand where major parties stood on issues that were important to me as a transgender woman and which might also be important to all who identify as LGBTQ++
I have joined the Womens Equality Party, a party open to all (including men) and whose aim is equality because equality is good for all. I like and support their policies; I was just shocked to find no mention of LGBTQ+ issues in their manifesto and to frankly see ‘gender’ as equating to ‘sex’, a very common but horribly outdated concept.
So I began belatedly looking at the published manifestos of all the main parties. The following is in no particular order. Without exception words are taken verbatim from the published manifesto and I link to each.
Labour has a proud record of championing the fight for LGBT equality. We abolished Section 28, equalised the age of consent, created civil partnerships, and it was only through Labour votes that equal marriage became law. However, there is still a long
way to go on issues such as education, equal access to public services, levels of LGBT
hate crime, and mental and physical wellbeing.
A Labour government will reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 to ensure they protect Trans people by changing the protected characteristic of ‘gender
assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and remove other outdated language such as transsexual’.
Labour will bring the law on LGBT hate crimes into line with hate crimes based on race and faith, by making them aggravated offences.
To tackle bullying of LGBT young people, Labour will ensure that all teachers receive initial and ongoing training on the issues students face and how to address them. And we
will ensure that the new guidance for relationships and sex education is LGBT inclusive.
Likewise, we will ensure all frontline health and social care professionals receive ongoing training to understand and meet the needs of LGBT patients and service users.
Labour will ensure that NHS England completes the trial programme to provide PrEP as
quickly as possible, and fully roll out the treatment to high-risk groups to help reduce HIV infection.
“We will extend protection of gender reassignment in equality law to explicitly cover gender identity and expression, and streamline and simplify the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to allow individuals to change their legal gender without unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, for example the intrusive medical tests currently required.”
“We will introduce an ‘X’ option on passports, identity documents, and official forms for those who do not wish to identify as either male or female, and campaign for their introduction in the provision of other services, for example utilities.”
“Extend the Equality Act to all large companies with more than 250 employees, requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps.”
I was surprised to see a whole mini manifesto dedicated to LGBT+ As it is so comprehensive I include a link here and recommend you take a look.
Women’s Equality Party
I joined this party on the basis of what I read in Catherine Mayer’s excellent polemic ‘Attack of the 50ft Women -How Gender Equality Can Save The world’. But I see nothing in their manifesto that supports me as a transgender woman. Don’t misunderstand me, I support everything in the WEP Manifesto; equality is long overdue and they have good and comprehensive policies which they encourage other parties to ‘nick’. They just say nothing about gender and gender variance. What is written can be read as gender equals sex, a position I grew up with and which delayed my recognition of my real gender which was at variance from my physical sex and thus the gender assigned at birth.
There is little in the Conservative manifesto of interest to LGBT+ folk and frankly the party is so toxic on other issues that I could never consider joining. Ditto UKIP.
The SNP does have some positive stuff to say around gender and gender variance, but as I live in England, this doesn’t help me choose a party to support.
Post election I am going to seek to clarify the position of the Women’s Equality party in terms of support for LGBTQ++ issues, however I recognise that the whole issue of (sex) equality is so massive that they are quite justified in making that their (sole) focus. I will explore further the position of the Greens (especially locally). In my constituency even if no one voted, it would still be Tory, so although Labour has the best chance of being in power nationally, I am not comfortable with the trolling and bullying that is evident against some very committed and talented MP’s like Jess Phillips, so not minded to join.
I hope this may be of some help in deciding who to work with over the next 5 years. We urgently need to change our voting system to a true PR one, so that the percentage of votes for each party nationally is reflected in their representation in Parliament.
Comments are welcome if constructive.