PinkNews Awards 2018: Jeremy Corbyn vows support for transgender reforms

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has backed transgender equality and condemned cuts to sexual health services in a speech to the PinkNews Awards 2018.

The left-wing politician was one of the keynote speakers at this year’s event, alongside the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In his speech to the sixth annual PinkNews Awards, the Labour leader reaffirmed the party’s commitments on transgender rights and hit out at Conservative cuts, which he says have harmed LGBT+ sexual health provisions.

Speaking about transgender rights, he said: “We must speak up for the trans community, who today face shocking attacks in the media—just as lesbian and gay people did in the 1980s—as well as now online, which can be a wonderful place but also a horrendous place where attacks take place.

“Labour supports reform of the Gender Recognition Act and Equality Act to allow for self-declaration. The deadline for Government’s consultation is on Friday.

“Trans people must be able to live full, healthy, and happy lives—being the person they want to be. Labour will stand up for their right to do so.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Paul Grace)

The government is currently consulting on reforms to gender recognition laws to simplify the process for transgender people to gain legal recognition in their chosen gender.

Corbyn also addressed cuts to sexual health services in his speech. He added: “This year marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS day. Frequent testing and the HIV prevention drug PrEP have made a major contribution to reducing the number of people contracting HIV.

“Labour has committed to completing the trial programme for PrEP and rolling it out to high risk groups.

“The LGBT community fought hard to get HIV awareness on the agenda but cuts to sexual health services mean that those in need won’t be able to easily access this vital drug.

“I believe the Government has a responsibility to meet the demand for preventative treatment.”

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses delegates on the final day of the Labour Party conference on September 26, 2017 in Brighton, England. Mr Corbyn is expected to speak about his party's new policies and present Labour as a government in waiting in his keynote address. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


HIV-preventing PrEP drugs can drastically reduce the risk of HIV infection for at-risk groups, including men who have sex with men.

PrEP is routinely available in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but is subject to trials in England and Wales.

Labour has remained committed to LGBT+ rights under Corbyn’s leadership.

The leader, who took power in 2016, has led the party’s commitments to LGBT+ inclusive education and transgender rights.

The party faced an internal spat earlier this year when a group of members resigned en masse to protest its policy of gender self-definition for all-women’s shortlists and women’s officer roles. Corbyn has doubled down on the party’s support for transgender rights, however.

Speaking to PinkNews in 2017, Corbyn challenged the anti-LGBT rhetoric of the Trump White House.

He said: “I am disturbed by a lot of what was said and went on during the US Presidential election, and I would hope that President Trump and Vice President Pence will reflect on what was said during that campaign, and recognise that they must represent all Americans, whatever their sexuality and orientation, and not encourage more discrimination against them, or indeed violence against them.

“There has been an increase in homophobic hate crime, and as a culture we must celebrate diversity and accept our differences.”

Read more: The complete list of winners of the PinkNews Awards 2018

The PinkNews Awards is supported by Lloyds Banking Group.