Lib Dems select trans candidate Zoe O’Connell

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Trans activist Zoe O’Connell has been selected as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Liberal Democrats.

Ms O’Connell – who is Secretary of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats – has been selected to stand for the party in the constituency of Maldon.

She told PinkNews: “It’s where I grew up. It’s an area I spent a lot of time in.

“I know it well, and I’m very keen to represent it. I’m ready to fight!”

Ms O’Connell is the fourth openly transgender candidate to stand in May – joining Labour PPC Emily Brothers in Sutton and Cheam, Green PPC Charlie Kiss in Islington South and Finsbury, and Green PPC Stella Gardiner in Bexleyheath and Crayford.

She said: “I think it’s the first election that’s had more than one trans candidate. It’s excellent that people now feel they can do this.

“It shows there’s a lot more acceptance than there used to be. It’s no longer a thing.

“It’s pretty good that Charlie’s standing, in particular, as a trans man.

“On the flip side, the fact that there are four so far that are standing indicates how politicised the communities have become.

“Same-sex marriage didn’t fully deliver for trans people, because of the Spousal Veto. The Equality Act and Gender Recognition Act didn’t fully deliver either.

“A lot of the fight is not just about winning the issue – it’s about getting it on the agenda in the first place.”

Ms O’Connell is not the first transgender candidate to run for the party, following Stephanie Dearden in 2004.

She added: “I am proud to be a Liberal Democrat.

“Both in and out of government we’ve been pushing not just on LGBT issues, but on equality in general. It’s about opportunity for all.

“There are a lot of Tories who still say ‘we would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those pesky Lib Dems’.

“It’s the main thing that attracts me to the Liberal Democrats, it’s why I’m a Liberal Democrat.”