Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey declares unequivocally that trans women are women and backs self-ID

Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey has told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that trans women are woman and the law should allow trans people to self-identify their gender.

“Do you believe trans women are women?” Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, asked Long-Bailey in a January 22 interview.

Long-Bailey replied quickly and firmly: “Yes.”

Long-Bailey also pointed out that trans people already self-identify their gender in many instances.

The notable exception to this is the gender on birth certificates, which can only be changed by obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate – a complicated, expensive and bureaucratic process that requires providing medical evidence to a panel.

This process is controlled by the Gender Recognition Act, which the government has repeatedly promised to reform.

Kuenssberg then asked: “And do you have any concerns about changing the Gender Recognition Act? Because this is a tricky issue, Labour has got different views on this issue. Do you think that moving to self- identification is the right thing to do?”

“I think we need to fully support our trans community,” Long-Bailey replied, “and I understand the arguments on all sides of this debate, but I’m very firm in supporting the rights of trans people and I think as a party, you would expect the Labour Party to be at the forefront of doing that.”

Kuenssberg said that was “not the same as saying that self-identification should become the legal way of doing it. Do you think that we should move to a situation of self-identification?”

“I think people self-ID,” Long-Bailey replied.

“I mean going through transition as a trans person, it’s a very, very difficult process. And speak to people who’ve been through the process themselves and self-IDing is the first step in that process for many.

“And we’ve got to respect and understand that we have to let people be who they want to be and respect their choices.”

“Should that be the law?” Kuenssberg asked.

“I think it should be the law.”

“So you do, to be clear, self-identification-” Kuenssberg reiterated.

“Self-identification,” Long-Bailey confirmed.