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Photo – Emily on Stage with LGBT Manifesto in Brighton 

Photo – Emily on Stage with LGBT Manifesto in Brighton

Labour’s first openly transgender parliamentary candidate, Emily Brothers (Sutton and Cheam) joined Angela Eagle (Shadow Commons Leader) last night at The Komedia in Brighton to launch the party’s LGBT Manifesto. Ms Brothers said:
“I’m proud to be part of LGBT Labour’s refreshed approach to taking forward the rights of LGBT people in the UK and around the world. Fairness, justice and liberation are key drivers behind our proposals for government.
“As Labour’s first woman with a transsexual history to stand for Parliament, I’m pleased to see commitments in our Manifesto on gender identity. It is a strong thread throughout the Manifesto, bringing us new confidence that Labour has a better plan for transgender people.
“I’m encouraged that the next Labour Government will commission a comprehensive review of transgender law and policy. The Gender Recognition Act passed in 2004 was a powerfully affirming piece of legislation for those of us going through the full transition process. Recognising the progress that has been made, it is also right to look at whether law and policy in this area is fit for purpose and has kept-pace with developments in other countries.
“The pace at which the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people have been improved in recent years has not been replicated for those who are transgender. So I’m pleased that our review will include non-binary rights, which is particularly important for the increasing numbers of young people who neither identify as male or female.
“As part of our review Labour will look at the very specific provisions for trans spouses who wish to go for gender recognition and whether they are fair. The Same Sex Marriage Act included a provision to enable married couples – where one spouse was transgender – to remain married when that spouse receives legal gender recognition. This was progress, but I’m concerned that the procedure effectively grants a spouse a veto over their partner's application for gender recognition. Scotland removed the 'spousal veto' during the passage of their marriage equality legislation, so it’s right that Labour looks at this procedure again for England and Wales.

Photo – Emily Outside Komedia being Interviewed by LGBT TV
Photo – Emily Outside Komedia being Interviewed by LGBT TV

“Due to my disability and being a gay woman with a transsexual history, I’m delighted that Labour will ensure that anybody who may face more than one form of disadvantage at work because of their gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, or disability is protected, implementing the dual discrimination provisions of the 2010 Equality Act. “The Tory and Lib Dem Coalition demonstrated their lack of commitment to equality by refusing to implement many provisions set out in equality legislation passed by the last Labour Government. It isn’t just about finishing that task though, as there is more to do to keep pace with wider societal change. We need to be the catalysts for that change.
“I used to work for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, so I well understand the challenges it has encountered. We need to encourage The Commission’s independent and authoritative role in developing policy, regulating the law and promoting policy, as well as ensuring it is fit for purpose.
“Sadly, some LGBT people are victims of crime motivated by prejudice and hate. That’s why Labour will strengthen the law on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime, equalising protection for these groups. We will build confidence in the criminal justice system to highlight hate crime reporting by ensuring the Crown Prosecution Service publishes data on enhanced sentencing for each protected characteristic.
“Far too often school isn’t the safe and inclusive place we would like. We need to work with schools to develop their confidence in taking a zero-tolerance approach to homophobia and transphobia in the classroom and playground. We will equip all teachers to tackle LGBT-phobic bullying.
“I think it is unacceptable to stand by whilst half of young LGBT people have reported self-harming, and nearly half of young transgender people have attempted suicide. A Labour government will take action by promote mental health services for young people who have been bullied because of their sexuality and gender identity. Under our plans, mental health will be given the same priority as physical health and people will have the same right to psychological and talking therapies as they currently have to drugs and medical treatments.
“Referrals to Gender Identity Clinics are rising by 20% per year, resulting in longer delays for getting support and treatment. That’s why we will work with the transgender community in tackling problems with access to gender care services. We also need to work with GP’s and other health professionals to develop their awareness and competence, as a way of dealing with the growing capacity problems and to bring about better co-ordinated care.
“Labour will appoint an International LGBT Rights Envoy to promote respect for LGBT human rights globally. That will include working for greater protection and recognition for transgender people. We will also review the process and guidelines around applications for asylum on the basis of persecution for sexuality or gender identity.
“Standing for Parliament as Labour’s first transgender candidate isn’t any easy task, but I’m proud of what this step forward means for trans-equality. The public reaction to my personal story has been amazingly positive. I hope that brings renewed hope to others with a transsexual history, enabling them to face the future with confidence. That needs to lead to more transgender people seeking and taking up public office. Labour needs to build on our successes, to ensure that Britain succeeds at being more diverse.”

Labour’s LGBT Manifesto can be read here:

Photo – Emily Speaking into Microphone with Amy Lame
Photo – Emily Speaking into Microphone with Amy Lame


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