I am pleased to inform you that LGBT Labour, at it’s recent National Committee meeting, has officially adopted the sentiments of the Trans Manifesto 2014 which has been prepared by a number of trans organisations, supported by the LGBT Consortium.
Indeed, this supports one of LGBT Labour’s initiatives that the membership endorsed at last November’s AGM - to talk to Labour Party MP’s on how we could formulise the Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity. A Forum that is accountable to our community (Nothing about us without us) and a forum properly resourced in the same way as other parliamentary forums are resourced and attended by MP’s from all the political parties that have parliamentary representation.
In order to commence this process, LGBT Labour will be holding a drop in session for all its Trans Members on Wednesday 11th June 2014, where they will be able to talk with Labour Party MP’s to voice any concerns they may have and to encourage Labour MPs to support a parliamentary forum on gender identity that would have impact.
This will set the foundations for Labour to once again take the lead in re-developing this very important parliamentary forum, which was initially set up by Labour MP Lynne Jones, along with Dr Evan Harris, a Lib Dem MP, to support the development of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. The forum continues today under the leadership of Baroness Joyce Gould. Without any official recognition for the forum or attendance from the lower house, there needs to be change focusing on getting our MPs to understand the effects that their decision making has on the trans community regarding equality legislation.
An officially recognised Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity would be the prefect platform for taking the Trans Manifesto forward from key messages to specific issues that need to be addressed in order to bring about the furtherance of Trans equality in the United Kingdom.
One of the main issues to be addressed is how best to improve the Gender Recognition Act. Since its introduction in 2004, there have been legal changes through the Equality Act 2010 and increased awareness of the diversity of the Trans community. It is very welcome for the Shadow Women and Equalities Minister to have formally pledged for a future Labour Government to review the Act.
Currently, the Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows a trans individual to be formally recognised in their acquired gender, indeed it issues them with not only a formal Gender Recognition Certificate, but also a new Birth Certificate in their acquired gender. However, when it comes to providing services the Equality Act 2010 is not very clear and can be interpreted differently when it comes to transgender equality. I believe the Equality Act 2010 needs to be reviewed to ensure those who are in receipt of Gender Recognition, as per the 2004 Act, are fully protected in their new gender and can lead a prosperous life without fear of prejudice and access whatever services they need to access. This should also apply to all members of the transgender family to ensure they are better protected.