Emily Brothers: Meet parliament's first Labour transgender candidate

What you should know about the history making new Labour candidate - a strident LGBT activist and long-time disability campaigner

Jenn Selby
Wednesday 10 December 2014 17:11

Ed Miliband declared himself “proud” and her a “courageous campaigner”. She said she didn’t want to “be somebody who has notoriety as having a transgender background”.

But, as the first selected transgender Labour parliamentary candidate to stand in the general election in May as a Labour candidate, she’s happy to accept her new position as “a positive role model”.

This is what you should know about her.

She is the first openly transgender Labour person to run for Westminster…

And has been welcomed with open arms by her Labour peers.

“It is very early in the process in terms of coming out as a politician, but my conversations have been very positive with colleagues and people close to me and I’m feeling that it is the right thing to do even though it is nerve wracking because it is, in terms of people’s reactions, an unknown quantity,” she told London Live. “But when I transitioned, I did find that people were generally supportive and that was a great credit.”

She hasn’t actually yet spoken to Ed Miliband directly about her decision to ‘come out’…

“I think we have a very inclusive party and I haven’t spoken to Ed specifically about this because I am confident that he will be supportive of me as a woman with a transgender background as he is in conversations I’ve had about my disability,” she told London Live.

She’s been married to a woman for 15 years…

“I have two great children, William who is 20 and Victoria who is 18, and it was very difficult for them as children and for my ex-wife to go through that kind of change in our life and it was very difficult in those years I initially transitioned,” she said.

She lost her sight to glaucoma as a child…

And has stridently campaigned, not just on LGBT issues, but also for a greater quality of life for the disabled. She has worked with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and campaigned for the introduction of disability living allowance.

If we lived “in an ideal world”, she wouldn’t have addressed her gender status publicly at all…

“However I recognise that as a politician the key thing is trust,” she told Pink News recently.

“I don't want to be somebody who has notoriety as having a transgender background, but I also believe it's an experience that has value to it, that I can be a positive role model.”

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