Labour to strengthen legal protections for trans people

The party wants to reform the Equality Act and bring law on LGBT hate crimes into line with racist ones

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Thursday 11 May 2017 10:43 BST
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Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives to speak at the Labour Party general election campaign launch at Event City in Manchester
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives to speak at the Labour Party general election campaign launch at Event City in Manchester

A Labour government would update legal protections for the trans community by rewriting the Equality Act and other laws to specifically protect gender identity.

According to a leaked version of the party’s 2017 general election manifesto Jeremy Corbyn’s party would update the Act to change the existing protected characteristic of “gender assignment” to “gender identity”.

The party also says it would remove other outdated language from law such as the word “transsexual” – which is now considered an unhelpful term, but is still used by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Labour also plans to bring the law on LGBT hate crimes into line with those of race and faith by making them “aggravated offences” in legislation. Racially or religiously aggravated offences currently carry tougher sentences than their non-aggravated counterparts.

Teachers and frontline health professionals would also be given "ongoing training to understand and meet the needs of LGBT patients and service users". In 2015 medical chiefs told MPs that the NHS was failing trans people and not treating them equally with other patients.

Mr Corbyn’s party is hoping to return Britain’s first trans MP at the general election; Sophie Cook, a 50-year-old equality campaigner will contest the seat of East Worthing and Shoreham.

Despite the law using outdated language, the EHRC has previously clarified that “to be protected from gender reassignment discrimination, you do not need to have undergone any specific treatment or surgery to change from your birth sex to your preferred gender”.

Labour' manifesto says: "Labour has a proud record championing the fight for GBLT equality. We abolished Section 28, equalised the age of consent, created civil partnerships, and it was only through Labour votes that equal marriage became law. However, there is still a long way to go issues such as education, equal access to public services, levels of LGBT hate crime, and mental and physical wellbeing.

"A Labour government will reform the Equality Act 2010 to ensure it protects trans people by changing the protected characteristic of ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and remove other outdated language such as ‘transexual’.

"Labour will bring the law on LGBT hate crimes into line with hate crimes based on race and faith, by making them aggravated offences.

It continues: "To tackle bullying of LGBT young people, Labour will ensure that all teachers receive initial and ongoing training on the issues.students face and how to address them. And we will ensure that the new guidance for relationships and sex education is LGBT inclusive.

"Likewise, we will ensure all frontline health and social care professionals receive ongoing training to understand and meet the needs of LGBT patients and service users.

"Labour will ensure that NHS England completes the trial programme to provide PrEP as quickly as possible, and fully roll out the treatment to high risk groups to help reduce HIV infection."

Labour’s manifesto is to be finalised at its Clause V meeting this week and is likely to be formally unveiled next week. The party says it does not comment on leaks, including of its election manifesto.

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