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All general election candidates asked to pledge support for trans rights

Joseph McCormick March 30, 2015

All general election candidates have been asked to pledge support for trans rights.

Campaigners for trans rights are calling on all general election candidates to support the three principles underpinning the Trans Manifesto.

The Trans Manifesto was launched in April 2014 to draw politicians’ attention to areas where trans people face inequality. 15 trans groups quickly identified three core principles:

  • Regard trans individuals as equal citizens with equal rights;
  • Empower trans individuals to be authorities on all aspects of their own lives; and
  • Encourage diverse, representative, realistic and positive portrayals of trans individuals.

Helen Belcher, Trustee of the LGBT Consortium, explains, “the unanimity of support behind the three principles was truly amazing, but we need politicians to pledge to support them.”

A new website has been launched today – www.transmanifesto.org.uk – which gives people contact details of candidates in their area and also allows them to log candidates’ level of support.

Paul Roberts, CEO of the LGBT Consortium, continues, “this exciting initiative for the 2015 general election really shows that trans rights are increasing in importance. We’d urge everyone to contact candidates in their constituency and ask them for their support of the three principles.”

Belcher, who also sits on the Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity, adds, “with an increasing number of politicians aware of the issues that trans people face, this next parliament will be key in reducing inequality. We’d encourage everyone, whether trans or not, to get involved.”

The last couple of years have seen outcries over inappropriate blocking of internet sites and issues around voter registration. Roberts says, “on the face of it, these issues wouldn’t have registered with MPs as issues that would adversely affect trans people. That’s why it’s so important that politicians pledge to uphold the principles, so all legislation should be scrutinised for its effect.”

All parties were asked to include two specific manifesto policies, review of the Gender Recognition Act and encourage positive portrayals of trans people in government documents.

Some parties have already confirmed that they are including specific policies for trans people in their general election manifestos.

The first out transgender woman to openly stand for a major UK-wide party for Parliament, Labour’s Emily Brothers in Sutton and Cheam, has today welcomed the Trans Manifesto launched by the LGBT Consortium. Ms Brothers said: “I welcome the Trans Manifesto launched today by the LGBT Consortium. As a woman with a transsexual history who is standing for Parliament, if elected I’ll endeavour to advance the core principles identified by transgender groups to further our equal rights, empower and positively portray us.

“Labour will build on the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act in 2004 by commissioning a comprehensive review of trans law and policy. That landmark legislation was amazingly powerful for some people like me, affirming our gender as we always felt it. Even though we’ve made some progress on this agenda, its right to look at whether policy in this area is fit for purpose and has kept-pace with developments in other countries.

“As part of this review, we 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 very welcome. However, I’m concerned that the procedure still effectively grants a spouse a veto over their partner’s application for gender recognition. Scotland removed this so-called ‘spousal veto’ during the passage of their marriage equality act, so it’s right that as part of the policy review we look again at this procedure for England and Wales.”

More: general election, Trans, trans manifesto, Transgender

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