Transgender Labour candidate Emily Brothers reveals past suicide attempt

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Labour candidate Emily Brothers has revealed that she once attempted to take her own life because of her gender.

Ms Brothers – who was a key figure in securing Disability Living Allowance for blind people – came out as transgender in an interview with PinkNews last month.

In a historic first for the Labour party, she will run to become an MP in Sutton and Cheam.

Speaking to the Guardian this week, she opened up about a time in 2006, after she had begun to transition to female, that she tried to drown herself.

She said: “I thought: don’t be ridiculous, no one will ever think you’re a woman, you can’t pass as a woman. I didn’t want to become some sort of point of ridicule for people to poke fun at.

“And one night in December 2006 I was walking home along the sea front in the early hours of the morning, wearing men’s clothes. There was nobody around, and I walked down to the beach and walked into the sea.

“If it had been a rough sea that night, a rough tide … I don’t think I had the physical strength to have fought it.

“I was fully dressed in the sea, up to my neck, but I didn’t quite have the courage to let go. And I stood there for ages.

“It was freezing, but I didn’t feel cold. And then something brought me back. I think it was probably my children. Thinking of my children.”

“And I remember thinking that it was just a shambles, but if I couldn’t take my own life, I had to face up to it. I went back up the cliff top, back to the house. And it was sort of – I can’t live like this.

“I was upset, I was angry, I hated it. I took the clothes off – I hated them. It’s a symbol of something I don’t want to be.

“This isn’t me. I threw them in the bin. I just threw the clothes away. And after that, I was increasingly living as Emily.”

Last week, transgender teen Leelah Alcorn’s suicide sparked outrage, after an online note emerged in which she criticized her parents for not accepting her gender.