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A comprehensive guide to what each party’s general election manifesto is promising queer voters

Nick Duffy November 25, 2019
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Conservative leader Boris Johnson and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson present their General Election 2019 manifestos

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Conservative leader Boris Johnson and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson present their General Election 2019 manifestos (Getty)

All of the parties have released their manifestos ahead of the December 12 general election – but their LGBT+ policies are far from equal.

Across the five major UK-wide parties, the Brexit Party’s ‘Contract with the People’ stands alone in failing to make a single mention of any issue or promise specific to the LGBT+ community.

The other parties all include varying general election commitments across LGBT+ policy areas.

Manifestos united on inclusive education, but divided on trans reforms.

Notably, the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens stand united in committing to LGBT+ inclusion in schools, in the wake of a backlash against inclusive education.

But while Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens have vowed to push forward with reforms to the Gender Recognition Act as part of their general election promises, the issue is absent from the Conservative manifesto – despite a consultation ordered under the previous Conservative government.

The Conservatives have also failed to commit to a full roll-out of HIV-preventing PrEP drugs, as backed by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens in the 2019 general election.

General Election 2019: Pledges on gender recognition reform are absent from the Tory manifesto
Pledges on gender recognition reform are absent from the Tory manifesto (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Other reforms for trans people – such as gender ‘X’ passports for non-binary people and the end to the ‘spousal veto’ for gender recognition – are absent from both the Conservative and Labour manifestos, despite pledges from the Liberal Democrats and Greens.

While the parties largely present pro-LGBT+ platforms, the substance of many specific reforms present in their manifestos differ.

For instance, Labour is the only party pledging to create a dedicated global ambassador on LGBT+ issues, while the Liberal Democrats are the only party explicitly committed to reforming the treatment of LGBT+ asylum seekers.

The full policy-by-policy breakdown is below.

Inclusive education.

Conservatives: We will continue to help teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying. No child should be bullied on account of who their parents are or where they come from.

Labour: Provide sufficient funding for schools to deliver mandatory LGBT+ inclusive relationships and sex education.

Liberal Democrats: Tackle bullying in schools, including bullying on the basis of gender, sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression, by promoting pastoral leadership in schools and delivering high-quality sex and relationships education.

Require schools to introduce gender-neutral uniform policies and break down outdated perceptions of gender appropriateness of certain subjects.

Introduce a ‘curriculum for life’, in all state-funded schools. This will include personal, social and health education, financial literacy, environmental awareness, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, mental health education, citizenship and age-appropriate relationships and sex education (RSE). Teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues surrounding explicit images and content will be included in RSE.

Brexit Party: No pledge.

Green Party: Properly fund training to support the delivery of comprehensive, age appropriate personal health and sexual education (PHSE) lessons in schools covering all aspects of sex and relationships, with a focus on consent.  End the opt-out of LGBTIQA+ inclusive PHSE classes at school to ensure that every child learns about different types of couples and families that make up UK society.

Gender Recognition Act reform.

Conservatives: No pledge.

Labour: Labour is committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce self-declaration for transgender people.

Liberal Democrats: Complete reform of the Gender Recognition Act to remove the requirement for medical reports, scrap the fee and recognise non-binary gender identities.

Brexit Party: No pledge.

Green Party: Update the Gender Recognition Act to allow trans youth and non-binary people to get legal recognition through self-declaration.

Anti-LGBT+ hate crimes.

Conservatives: We will vigorously combat harassment and violence against all religious groups, and against LGBT people.

Labour: No pledge.

Liberal Democrats: Tackle the rise in hate crimes by making them all aggravated offences, giving law enforcement the resources and training they need to identify and prevent them, and condemning inflammatory rhetoric – including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia – by those with public platforms.

Brexit Party: No pledge.

Green Party: Funding to support the prevention and prosecution of all hate crimes will be increased, and police officers will be given further training in this area. We need an intersectional approach to hate crime, which recognises the groups of women who are most at risk.

Gender X passports.

Conservatives: No pledge.

Labour: No pledge.

Liberal Democrats: Introduce an ‘X’ gender option on passports and extend equality law to cover gender identity and expression.

Brexit Party: No pledge.

Green Party: We will change the law so an X gender marker can be added to passports for non-binary and intersex people who wish to use it.

PrEP.

Conservatives: No pledge.

Labour: Fully fund sexual health services and roll out PrEP medication.

Liberal Democrats: Ensure Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention is fully available to all who need it on the NHS.

Brexit Party: No pledge.

Green Party: We will ensure that PrEP – a daily pill which prevents HIV infection – is provided by NHS England without delay.

LGBT+ Healthcare

Conservatives: No pledge.

Labour: We will guarantee universal healthcare by ensuring all our services are made accessible to BAME, LGBT+ and disabled patients.

Liberal Democrats: Review on the basis of evidence any unscientific and discriminatory practices aimed solely at LGBT+ people, such as around blood donations.

Require that a fair proportion of all public funding for health research should be focused on research into mental ill-health, including research into the different mental health needs of different communities within the UK such as BAME and LGBT+ people.

Ensure that LGBT+ inclusive mental health services receive funding and support. Address continuing inequalities in health services access faced by same-sex couples, and continue to improve LGBT+ healthcare overall.

Brexit Party: No pledge.

Green Party: Increase funding for areas of the NHS heavily relied on by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) people, including trans healthcare, gender identity clinics, HIV treatment and mental health provision.

We will ensure that tailored and specific [mental health] provision is readily available for the particular needs of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) and Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, children and adolescents, and older people.

Global LGBT+ rights.

Conservatives: We will support marginalised communities in the developing world, hosting the UK government’s first ever international LGBT conference.

Labour: Respond fast and firmly wherever LGBT+ people face violence or persecution internationally and appoint a dedicated global ambassador to the Foreign Office on LGBT+ issues.

Liberal Democrats: Develop a comprehensive strategy for promoting the decriminalisation of homosexuality around the world and advancing LGBT+ rights.

Brexit Party: No pledge.

Green Party: No pledge.

Spousal veto.

Conservatives: No pledge.

Labour: No pledge.

Liberal Democrats: Complete the introduction of equal marriage, by removing the spousal veto [and] Allowing those marriages that were dissolved solely due to the Gender Recognition process to be retrospectively restored.

Brexit Party: No pledge.

Green Party: Remove the spousal veto so that married trans people can acquire their gender recognition certificate without having to obtain permission from their spouse.

LGBT+ asylum.

Conservatives: No pledge.

Labour: No pledge.

Liberal Democrats: Offer asylum to people fleeing the risk of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identification, end the culture of disbelief for LGBT+ asylum seekers and never refuse an LGBT+ applicant on the basis that they could be discreet.

Brexit Party: No pledge.

Green Party: No pledge.

Links: Conservative manifestoLabour manifestoLiberal Democrat manifestoBrexit Party manifestoGreen Party manifesto.

More: Boris Johnson, General Election 2019, Jeremy Corbyn, Jo swinson, manifesto

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