Transgender Labour candidate: I’m living without legal gender recognition, the system needs reform

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Transgender Labour activist Sophie Cook explains why change is needed to the Gender Recognition Act, after party leader Jeremy Corbyn backed calls for reform.

In a speech to PinkNews this week, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said that he will support the Conservative Party to improve transgender rights in the UK.

As a Labour Parliamentary Candidate and a trans woman I fully support him in his cross-party approach to reforming the Gender Recognition Act.

Transgender Labour candidate: I’m living without legal gender recognition, the system needs reform

Since I transitioned in 2015 I have faced prejudice, abuse and even death threats and it’s time for Parliament to recognise the challenges that trans people face and work to eradicate bigotry in all of it’s forms.

The Gender Recognition Act forces people to jump through hoops and undergo deeply personal and intimate examination of their life including medical evidence and, if you’re married, a declaration from your spouse in order to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Despite, very obviously, being my true self and living my life in my true gender I do not have a GRC.

My passport, driving license and all other documents identify me as female and yet under the law without a GRC my rights could potentially be in danger.

There have been cases of trans women losing their lives because the lack of a GRC placed them in harms way, most notably inside our prison system.

In the Labour manifesto we recognised that the act was out of date and pledged to change it and it’s refreshing to see a party leader place the rights of a minority above party political divisions.

Everyone should be afforded the right to self identification, no doctor, judge or politician can presume to know more about an individuals identity than they do themselves.

Sophie Cook was the Labour candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham