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Every major political party – even the Tories – has condemned the government’s alleged plans to roll back trans rights

Vic Parsons June 19, 2020
LGBT Conservatives demands government empathise with trans people

Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The UK’s seven biggest political parties have united in an unprecedented show of support for trans rights, in the wake of reports that the Tories plan to scrap reforming the Gender Recognition Act.

The LGBT+ groups of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, Greens and Alliance parties have issued a joint statement, expressing deep concern, disappointment and anger at the alleged Tory attacks on trans rights.

The Sunday Times reported June 14 that equalities chief Liz Truss and prime minister Boris Johnson allegedly plan to scrap long-delayed GRA reforms and instead bring in “new protections” for women’s spaces that would bar trans women from using them. The government has not confirmed or denied these reports.

Now, the LGBT+ groups of all seven parties have asked Truss to meet with them to discuss their concern about both the leaked report on GRA reform and her comments in the past two months on trans rights.

“We stand together in our opposition to any proposal to place unnecessary restrictions on trans people, hindering their ability to live freely and without fear,” the joint statement reads.

“It’s now nearly two years since Theresa May launched the LGBT Action Plan,” it continued.

“There was an acknowledgement that trans people faced indignities and prejudice. We all welcomed efforts to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), to remove the current costly, overcomplicated and bureaucratic process and move towards a self-declaration process – which is used, without issue, in eight countries across the world, including the Republic of Ireland.”

The LGBT+ groups are urging Truss to rule out making any changes to the Equality Act 2010, which protects trans people from discrimination when using public services, or any changes to healthcare provision for trans youth.

Truss should also publish a “timeline for legislation for meaningful reform of the GRA”, which would help lessen the confusion and panic surrounding the leaked report.

Conservative LGBT+ head says trans people fear for their safety.

The chair of the Conservative Party’s LGBT+ group, Colm Howard Lloyd, condemned the leak of unofficial proposals for the GRA as “shabby and cruel”.

“In the period since Gender Recognition Act reform was proposed the Government has allowed misinformation and speculation to flourish with a lack of decisive action,” he said.

“An opportunity for sensible reform has soured and created a toxic atmosphere. Many trans people now fear for their safety and future.

“The Government must make clear beyond doubt its commitment to equality for all trans people.”

The co-chairs of LGBT+ Labour said that forcing trans people to wait two years from when the huge public consultation on the GRA ended only to leak that reform was being scrapped was “a disgrace”.

“This isn’t just about the Government going back on its promises and not making reforms that would improve the lives of trans people in the UK. These leaked plans would be the biggest reversal of the rights of LGBT+ people since Section 28,” said Melantha Chittenden and Heather Peto.

“LGBT+ Labour will fight this every step of the way, including working with our colleagues from across the political spectrum to make sure trans rights are protected and advanced in the UK.”

Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats said: “Ensuring trans people can live their life in safety and with dignity is imperative and that this cross-party coalition of groups will stand up for trans rights and highlights the disgraceful position that this government has rowed back on a consultation completed over two years ago.”

 

More: Boris Johnson, gender recognition act, GRA Reform, lgbt conservatives, LGBT Labour, liz truss, single-sex spaces

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