A number of leading trans organisations have called on all UK political parties to include two specific policies promoting trans equality in their General Election manifestos.
Trans peoples’ rights have increased in profile since 2010, with the Equality Act, Government’s Transgender Action Plan, media representation of trans people and the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act all causing debate.
Paul Roberts, LGBT Consortium Chief Executive, says, “now is the time to raise trans rights as a crossparty political issue which needs government support. LGBT Consortium has been really pleased to be able to facilitate this unprecedented step.”
The trans manifesto includes two specific policy statements: to review the Gender Recognition Act (which became law ten years ago) and to encourage positive portrayals of trans people in government publications.
Helen Belcher, a director of Trans Media Watch and one of the drivers behind the initiative, says, “these policies build on three core statements which we would encourage all politicians to commit to.” The statements highlight the need to respect trans peoples’ autonomy, expertise and imagery.
A large number of national and regional trans groups helped draft then unanimously agreed both the statements and the policies. Belcher continues, “the huge level of support for this within the trans communities, and society’s growing understanding of the issues that face trans people, mean that we should expect continuing improvements in the way that trans people are treated. My discussions with MPs and peers from all parties indicate there is support for this innovative approach.” (Belcher sits on the Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity, chaired by Baroness Gould of Potternewton.)
Roberts adds, “the low cost of these proposals, combined with the highly positive impact they will have on many peoples’ lives, makes this a really exciting initiative to be involved with.”