The Trans Community’s Apprehensions with Labour’s Potential Leadership

In the aftermath of Labour’s resounding electoral victory, my emotions were conflicted. While jubilant over the Conservative Party’s defeat, I found myself deeply apprehensive about what this new government might mean for trans individuals and the broader LGBTQ+ community.

Examining Labour’s manifesto, it becomes apparent that their dedication to advancing my community is lacking in substance. While they pledge to outlaw conversion therapy entirely and elevate hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals to aggravated offenses, these promises fail to address the significant hurdles faced by trans people across the UK.

Their proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act fall short, neglecting to address the most archaic aspects, such as the requirement for a medical diagnosis to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Equally concerning is their silence on the excessively long waiting lists for trans-related medical care for adults and the current prohibition of puberty blockers for young people in England. Moreover, Labour has yet to confront the pervasive transphobia that permeates our media and political landscapes, a daily ordeal for many in our community.

Ironically, even Theresa May’s Conservative government in 2017 exhibited more progressive thinking than Labour does presently. May boldly stated that being trans is not a medical condition and should not be treated as such, advocating for the elimination of medical diagnoses altogether.

Regrettably, instead of sparking transformation in the UK, May’s proposals became a conduit for the propagation of increasingly toxic, dehumanizing, and hostile anti-trans sentiments—sentiments that Labour now appears complicit in endorsing.

Meanwhile, numerous European countries have embraced legal gender recognition models that do not mandate a medical diagnosis, often referred to as self-ID or self-declaration, with successful outcomes. Rather than charting a course towards progress, Labour seems fixated on clinging to outdated policies.

Compounding my concerns are certain Labour MPs’ history of making disparaging remarks about trans individuals. Figures like Rosie Duffield have consistently espoused gender-critical beliefs, labeling trans women as “male-bodied biological men,” despite calls from LGBT+ Labour to withdraw support. Similarly, Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has questioned the legitimacy of trans identities, suggesting that trans women are not women and trans men are not men.

Even Keir Starmer himself, Labour’s leader, leaves much to be desired on trans rights. His endorsement of measures to exclude trans women from women’s hospital wards, sports, or prisons under the guise of “common sense” is deeply disheartening. More recently, his assertion that trans women do not have the right to utilize women’s spaces, even with a Gender Recognition Certificate, directly contradicts existing legislation and underscores his party’s waning commitment to trans rights.

As someone who came out as trans at 17 and has navigated adulthood authentically, Labour’s rhetoric and policy positions feel profoundly degrading and dehumanizing. Having utilized inclusive spaces throughout my adult life without issue, the prospect of being compelled to use male-designated spaces again is not only absurd but perilous, exposing me to heightened risks of violence and abuse.

Given these circumstances, it is challenging to sustain hope that Labour will effect meaningful change for trans people in the coming years. Their entrenched endorsement of dehumanizing anti-trans sentiments signals a troubling myopia, obscuring the transformative potential they possess.

The most disheartening aspect is the realization that change is within Labour’s grasp—they simply need to seize it. To genuinely champion my community, Labour must actively engage with our lived experiences, disavow gender-critical rhetoric, and unequivocally condemn the entrenched transphobia that continues to afflict our society.