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Dawn Butler makes it onto Labour’s deputy leadership ballot on platform promising Gender Recognition Act reform

Vic Parsons February 3, 2020
Queer ally Dawn Butler makes it onto Labour's deputy leadership ballot

Labour MP Dawn Butler takes part in the party deputy leadership hustings at Ashton Gate Stadium on February 01, 2020 in Bristol, England. (Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

Labour MP Dawn Butler has made it onto the ballot for deputy leader on a strongly pro-LGBT+ platform that includes a vow to reform gender-recognition laws in the UK.

Butler, who served as shadow secretary of state for women and equalities since 2017, thanked those who’d got her onto the ballot.

“‘The higher you build the barriers, the taller we become.’ Thank you for getting me on the ballot. Now the fight begins to make me your next deputy leader,” she wrote on Twitter.

The Brent Central MP is a staunch queer ally, with strong policy commitments to the LGBT+ community that include promising to reform the Gender Recognition Act “really quickly”.

The reforms, repeatedly promised by the Tory government, were publicly consulted on in 2018 with more than 100,000 people giving their views of potential changes to the UK’s gender-recognition laws, first enacted in 2004.

Trans campaigners are calling for a simplification and de-medicalisation of the process by which trans people update the gender on their birth certificate, as well as a broadening of the existing law to include legal recognition for non-binary trans people.

Butler has previously slammed the government’s handling of potential GRA reforms, calling it “a f**king disgrace”.

She also infamously sparked what became known as Labour’s ‘Gay Giraffe Row’ after backing LGBT+ inclusive sex and relationships education in a speech at the PinkNews Awards. Butler said that children couldn’t be taught to be gay any more than giraffes can, and said that “90 per cent of giraffes are gay”.

This led to a week of media coverage over whether or not male giraffes are gay, bisexual or just enjoy “sexually dominating” younger male giraffes.

In a PinkNews interview last month, Dawn Butler said that the way the media tried to attack her over these comments was “bloody hilarious”.

“It’s funny, because after I did that speech, they tried try to attack me. The media did try to attack me on my comments on giraffes which was bloody hilarious.

“All on the news, ticker notes at the bottom, people phoning me. And I was, like: ‘Are you guys serious?’

“You know they really tried! They got scientists involved, it was discussed on the Victoria Derbyshire show, it was all mad.

“But the interesting thing was all these all these people with sort of long titles, started talking about the animal kingdom and how sexuality exists in the animal kingdom and started talking about all these animals.

“I thought it was interesting because it changed the debate and got people thinking.”

Labour members will start receiving ballot papers in the post in two weeks time for both the leader and deputy leader positions.

Dawn Butler is up against Rosena Allin Khan, Richard Burgon, Ian Murray and Angela Rayner – who is leading the field, with more than twice as many parliamentary Labour party nominations than any of the other deputy leader candidates.

Those hoping to be the next leader or deputy leader of the Labour party have until February 14 to make it onto the ballot.

More: dawn butler mp, gay giraffe row, gender recognition act, labour leadership contest

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