We should be proud of Labour’s LGBT+ agenda – but keep fighting for self-ID

We should be proud of Labour’s LGBT+ agenda – but keep fighting for self-ID, article by Lily Soaper LGBT+ Labour Co-Chair and Dylan Naylor LGBT+ Labour Trans officer


Earlier this year, I was proud to see LGBT+ Labour submit an extensive document to the National Policy Forum detailing how the next Labour government should improve the lives of LGBT+ people. Most importantly this set out our want for a de-medicalised statutory process of Self-ID for trans people.

Gender self-identification is not a new idea. Over 30 countries, territories and states have introduced it, including many of Labour’s worldwide sister parties. Despite arguments made by those who seek to hinder progress for our community, there is no evidence to suggest that women and girls are made less safe by introducing self-ID.

References to the dangers of ‘predatory men’, in relation to gender recognition law, mirrors both the behaviour of those engaged in the Conservative’s culture war and the slurs levelled against the LGBT+ community throughout our history.

Labour will bring progress, but its self-ID rowback is unacceptable

When a dog breed can be banned quicker than conversion therapy and hate crime against LGBTQ+ people continues to rise, it paints a clear message that this Conservative government isn’t working for LGBT+ people.

I know that under a Labour government, progress will be made. I am pleased that thanks to the efforts of our campaigning, Labour has committed to tackling anti-LGBT+ hate crimes, reducing the huge waiting-lists for LGBT+ inclusive healthcare, implementing a full, trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy, and reforming the gender recognition act.

However, despite the commitments that have been made, it is unacceptable for the Labour Party to roll back on the promise to introduce a statutory form of self-ID. It is crucial that our party does not succumb to the pressure to water down commitments to achieve true equality for LGBT+ people.

Frustratingly, the battle for equality for our community has never been easy or quick, progress over the years has been incremental but we have never backed down and have always achieved progress in the end. The changes proposed by Anneliese Dodds to the gender dysphoria diagnosis process in which the panel of doctors is replaced by just one is a step in the right direction, however, it is LGBT+ Labour’s belief that this process should not be medicalised.

I want to reiterate LGBT+ Labour’s commitment to continue to campaign for a de-medicalised statutory process of Self-ID for trans people.

My rights as a women and an LGBTQ+ person are not in conflict

The fight for Trans rights is not just a fight for part of the community but a fight for the heart of our community. As a lesbian, my rights as a woman and my rights as an LGBTQ+ person are not in conflict with each other but are just as important as each other.

The progress made by our trans siblings has allowed women like me to be able to reject the idea that women can only be defined by their biology and instead look to the complex nature behind womanhood.

It has also allowed us to recognize that womanhood is not just about biological ability, but also about the complex combination of our identities and experiences. It has been my trans friends who have helped me accept that as a lesbian I do not need to act or dress a certain way to fit the gender norms of a woman to express my womanhood and be comfortable in who I am.

Jo Cox was correct when she told the house in her maiden speech that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us. I know that there are many issues that affect both our trans siblings and cis women, like violence against women and girls, access to hormones, and healthcare.

Whilst people continue to seek to divide it hinders progress for all but when united we can tackle the biggest issues and the Labour Party should not be shying away from that challenge just like LGBT+ Labour will not shy away. The battle for true equality may well be slower than we would like but we’ll bank our successes, dust ourselves down, and keep pushing forward and fighting to achieve our ultimate aims.