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10 times outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn showed us what LGBT+ allyship truly means

Vic Parsons March 25, 2020

Jeremy Corbyn waves as he visits Trafalgar Square at a demonstration against President Trump's visit to the UK on July 13, 2018 in London, England. (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

The House of Commons is expected to close this evening after passing emergency coronavirus legislation, which would make today the last day in parliament as Labour leader for Jeremy Corbyn.

Parliament had been due to go into Easter recess on March 31, but after dealing with emergency laws to deal with the coronavirus – which MPs are expected to pass – it will close early.

With the House of Commons not due to reopen until April 21 and the Labour leadership contest closing in 10 days, Conservative prime minister Boris Johnson will be facing either Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy or Rebecca Long-Bailey at the dispatch box after the break.

Corbyn, who’s been the MP for Islington North since 1983, announced soon after Boris Johnson’s landslide majority in 2019 that he would not fight another general election as Labour leader.

The 70-year-old has spent 52 years in politics championing human rights and LGBT+ equality. Here’s a look back at the moments when he stood with the LGBT+ community.

Voted for equal marriage in the UK in May 2013.

In February and May 2013.

Jeremy Corbyn at the Soho vigil for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting on June 13, 2016 in London. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Jeremy Corbyn has backed trans rights for a long time.

Jeremy Corbyn voted for the original 2004 Gender Recognition Act (GRA) – which sought to keep marriages valid if a partner transitioned, thus becoming a same-sex marriage.

In his general election campaign in 2019, he repeatedly promised to reform the now-outdated GRA and to consider extending legal recognition to non-binary people.

Defending a group of gay squatters in the 1970s.

As a Haringey councillor in the 1970s, Jeremy Corbyn was involved with defending a group of people who had set up the North London gay centre at a house in Finsbury Park that was being squatted.

National Front fascists were trying to break up the squat, which was being defended by a group of Irish building workers from the pub next door who “didn’t like or care for fascists on the street”, Corbyn told PinkNews.

As the local councillor representing the ward, Corbyn helped the gay squatters keep running the North London gay centre – which kept running for a while.

Dawn butler, Jeremy Corbyn and Baga Chipz
Drag Race UK queen Baga Chipz met Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler at the PInkNews Awards 2019. (PinkNews)

Jeremy Corbyn voted for equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

In July 2019.

Helping the first openly gay male MP get re-elected.

Chris Smith was elected MP for Islington South in 1983 with a majority of just 300.

The following year, on November 24 1984, Smith came out as gay in a speech about a possible town-council ban on gay employees in a town in Warwickshire.

Fast-forward to the 1987 election, and Smith – who was now suffering a lot of abuse for being gay – was defending a tiny majority, with the Tories throwing everything at him.

Corbyn, the MP for neighbouring constituency Islington North, sent people to Islington South to help Smith’s campaign, and spent part of polling day itself getting Labour voters out to support Smith.

Smith won by around 800 votes.

Corbyn voted against the introduction of homophobic Section 28.

Although he was absent from the 2003 vote that saw Section 28 get repealed because his Conservative “pair” couldn’t attend the vote, Corbyn had already voted against its introduction in the 80s.

DIVA Magazine Publisher Linda Riley, Dawn Butler MP and Jeremy Corbyn at the 2018 Diva Awards. (Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Diva Magazine)

Jeremy Corbyn voted against it being a requirement of fertility treatment that the child have a ‘male role model’.

And he voted against it being a requirement for fertility treatment for the child to have a father and a mother, too.

He voted to allowed gay couples to adopt kids.

And he voted to lower the age of consent for gay sex from 18 to 16.

‘I’m Jeremy Corbyn and my pronouns are he/him.’

At the 2019 PinkNews Awards, Corbyn introduced himself by stating his pronouns before launching into a speech about LGBT+ equality.

This was the first known time that the leader of a major political party in the UK has shared their pronouns in solidarity with the trans and non-binary community.

Despite fierce backlash from online “gender-critical” activists and Mumsnet, Corbyn continued to state his pronouns in interviews.

He answered ‘Madonna or Cher’ correctly.

In the lead up to the 2019 general election, PinkNews asked the leaders of political parties a series of crucial questions to help the LGBT+ community decide who to vote for.

One of these was the divisive “Madonna or Cher?” question, which Corbyn answered correctly as per the opinion of this reporter.

Picking Cher, Corbyn said: “For those of us who just enjoy the music, it wasn’t obvious just how abominably she was being treated by Sonny. And it was absolutely disgusting.

“And strong women who come out of a horrible relationship and then become even stronger themselves… I think she’s amazing.”

The new Labour leader will be announced on April 4.

More: Chris Smith, equal marriage, gender recognition act, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, Labour leadership election, trans rights

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