Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for “wide support” for reform to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), after the government opened a public consultation on the legislation, which closes on Friday (October 19).
In a video interview at the PinkNews Awards in Church House, Westminster, Corbyn also called for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.
.@jeremycorbyn says the Gender Recognition Act reform is "a good thing."
— PinkNews (@PinkNews) October 17, 2018
The GRA is the law that sets out the process through which transgender people can have their identity legally recognised. However, the act has been deemed bureaucratically heavy and medically intrusive by members of the trans community and the government launched a public consultation in July as a first step to reforming the legislation.
Corbyn expressed his support for the reform of the act, and added that even having the conversation is “a good thing.”
“It’s a good step forward. Let’s go all the way and get it into law as quickly as we can,” he added.
The Labour leader also addressed the current situation in Northern Ireland, where equal marriage is still not a reality as same-sex couples can only be recognised through a civil partnership.
“Let’s get into law the situation facing the LGBT community in Northern Ireland, and have same-sex marriage legislated for in Northern Ireland,” he said.
Corbyn attended the PinkNews Awards last night, where he was one of the keynote speakers.
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In his speech, he reaffirmed his party’s position on transgender rights, and also hit out at Conservative cuts, which he said have harmed LGBT+ sexual health provisions.
“We must speak up for the trans community, who today face shocking attacks in the media—just as lesbian and gay people did in the 1980s—as well as now online, which can be a wonderful place but also a horrendous place where attacks take place,” he said.
“Labour supports reform of the Gender Recognition Act and Equality Act to allow for self-declaration. The deadline for Government’s consultation is on Friday.
“Trans people must be able to live full, healthy, and happy lives—being the person they want to be. Labour will stand up for their right to do so.”
He also said that Labour has committed to completing the trial programme for PrEP, a treatment for people diagnosed with HIV, and would roll it out to high risk groups.
“The LGBT community fought hard to get HIV awareness on the agenda but cuts to sexual health services mean that those in need won’t be able to easily access this vital drug.
“I believe the government has a responsibility to meet the demand for preventative treatment.”
Awards were handed out at last night’s ceremony across 11 categories, and celebrated achievements and support for LGBT+ rights in a wide range of sectors and activities.
Other high-profile figures in attendance included former Prime Minister Tony Blair and drag queen Courtney Act.