In Gateshead however, it is Labour that have taken up a transphobic position. Earlier this year they submitted a motion for debate at the Council which opposed the proposed reforms the Conservative government were proposing (the same reforms now kicked into the long grass by the Johnson administration). There was such an outcry in the transgender community against Labour's motion that they were forced into a humiliating uturn. The motion was withdrawn and buried, not because Labour disagreed with it, but because there was a backlash which was putting the spotlight on Labour as a party of illiberalism and reaction. Its leading proponent promised it would return but it has not seen the light of day since. At least not yet.
I suspect Labour in Gateshead will not be fans of the proposals announced by the Lib Dems today, but here they are anyway:
- The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will implement reform of the Gender Recognition Act as a priority, after the Conservative Government failed to bring forward measures despite promises to do so.
- Under the plans, to be included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, the Act will be amended to make the gender recognition process simpler and fairer, by:
- Removing the requirement for medical reports
- Scrapping the fee.
- Recognising non-binary gender identities.
- Last month it was reported that the Conservatives had “shelved the plans” and intended them to be “kicked into the long grass”.
- This is prolonging uncertainty and creating unnecessary anxiety for trans people at a time when transphobic hate crime is at a record high.
- The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future where every person’s rights are respected, including expression of their gender identity.