Jeremy Corbyn has said that trans rights must improve in the UK, and he will support the Conservative Party in Parliament to make it happen.
Speaking last night at the PinkNews Summer Parliamentary reception, the Labour Party leader called for an overhaul of the Gender Recognition Act to allow trans people to self-identify their gender.
“The struggle for real trans equality is still alive and well,” Corbyn said.
George Montague, Jeremy Corbyn and Lord Smith in conversation (ChrisJepson.com)
“I’m committed to supporting that struggle today. We must advance trans rights, and discrimination has gone on too long.”
He continued: “The Gender Recognition Act does not allow trans people to self-identify their gender and forces them to undergo invasive medical tests.
“I believe that is wrong. We recognised that in our manifesto at the election, and we have pledged to update that act, and support any moves in this Parliament to ensure that act updated, in line with what we said at the election.”
After the event, Labour added: “Theresa May told PinkNews that ‘changes need to be made’ but failed to include anything on this in the Conservative Manifesto.
“So, we say to her today, Labour will help you keep your promise.
“Bring forward a Bill to update the Act and improve trans rights and Labour will back you. You can give your MPs and the DUP a free vote and Labour will make it law.”
Prior to the snap 2017 General Election in a series of readers’ Q&As with PinkNews, the three major party leaders pledged to overhaul the Gender Recognition Act to better allow trans people to self-identify their gender.
“I know that for some trans people, the legal process to change their gender can be distressing, so changes do need to be made,” said Mrs May at the time.
“We’re looking to move away from the current focus on medical checks towards a system that works better for trans people.”
Mr Corbyn said: “People’s own self-identification must be respected by others.
“That’s why I’m pleased we committed in our manifesto that Labour in government will update legal protections for the trans community by rewriting the Equality Act and other laws to specifically protect gender identity.”
The PinkNews Summer Reception (ChrisJepson.com)
And Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “We want a streamlined simplification of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to allow individuals to change their legal gender at will.”
During his speech last night, Mr Corbyn also said that those prosecuted for being gay should not just be pardoned, but receive an apology from the government.
He also highlighted the persecution of gay men in Chechnya, and warned against the regression of LGBT rights in the US under the Donald Trump administration.
The PinkNews Parliamentary Reception is generously supported by Lloyds Banking Group.