Labour’s Keir Starmer promises ‘reset moment’ on ‘toxic’ trans discourse if elected

Labour leader Keir Starmer

Labour leader Keir Starmer has emphasised the party’s record on LGBTQ+ rights, saying treating people with respect has “seemingly been lost in the last 14 years” and he is “determined to change that” if the party is elected to government.

In the run-up to the general election on Thursday (4 July) PinkNews approached the major political parties vying for the backing of LGBTQ+ voters and asked them about key issues impacting the queer community including hate crime rates, trans waiting lists and the UK’s standing in terms of international LGBTQ+ rights.

The Conservatives, Lib Dems, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru provided either in-person interviews or direct responses to PinkNews’ questions. However, Labour chose not respond to our questions directly, providing a lengthy written response less than 24 hour before the polls opened, grouped under different themes, attributed to Keir Starmer.

The response reads as follows:

Our offer for LGBT+ communities

For too long, LGBT+ communities have been treated as a political football under the Conservatives. Treating people with respect in political discourse has seemingly been lost in the last 14 years. I’m determined to change that. 

Labour is – and always will be – the party of equality. We have a strong record of delivering for LGBT+ people, and the next Labour government will continue that tradition.

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Our manifesto commits to a full, trans-inclusive ban on conversion practices, a strengthening of the law so that LGBT+ hate crime attracts tougher sentences, modernising the gender recognition process and upholding the Equality Act.

But we know it’s not just equality-specific policies that impact PinkNews readers. It’s the lack of access to healthcare. It’s the crime and anti-social behaviour on your streets. And it’s the pounds in your pocket. 

The change Labour is offering will make people better off. Our promises to the British people will mean creating wealth, opening up opportunity, and breaking down the barriers that are holding communities back. 

Keir Starmer
Labour Party leader Keir Starmer. (Dan Kitwood/Getty)

Tackling discrimination

The awful discrimination that trans people continue to face is really distressing. If Labour wins the election, we will have a reset moment which allows a fresh start – one that advocates respect and dignity, for everyone in Britain.

It’s appalling that under the Conservatives recorded hate crime has soared. I’ve seen first-hand the pernicious impact of such crimes.

Labour will act by equalising the law, so hate crimes against LGBT+ people and disabled people carry the same gravity as racist hate crimes. And we’ll put 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs on the street, to keep communities safe and tackle harassment suffered by LGBT+ communities. 

Additionally, if Labour is privileged to come into office after the election, we know just how much we’ve got to address on the real everyday challenges that LGBT+ people are facing.

On housing, we will get Britain building again. We’ve committed to delivering 1.5 million more homes, and bringing in much stronger rights for renters. Because we know the lack of availability in the quantity and affordability of housing is hitting people’s pockets and holding people back.

We’ll also protect rights at work with our landmark plan to make work pay, which Angela Rayner has been championing. This will bring in the biggest boost to workers’ rights in a generation, which includes better protections from bad bosses.

Keir Starmer and Labour Party banners
Keir Starmer is the current leader of the Labour Party. (Getty Images)

LGBT+ healthcare

Waiting times across the NHS are too high. Labour has a plan to get the NHS back on its feet, with more staff, more specialist equipment, and staff paid more to offer 40,000 more appointments a week in evening and at weekends. By doing this, we will create the capacity to reduce waiting lists across the board, and we will build an NHS that gets everyone the care they need on time.

We agree that children’s healthcare should always be led by evidence and children’s welfare, free from culture wars. Clinicians and parents alike want the best for children at this crucial developmental stage.

The Cass Review provides an evidence-led framework to deliver that. We’ll implement the expert recommendations of the Cass Review in full, to ensure that young people are receiving appropriate and high-quality care. 

We are committed to working constructively to put children’s health and wellbeing above the political fray, by taking the toxicity out of this in public life. Absolutely everyone deserves – and should be afforded – dignity and respect. 

Relationships and sex education is vital to teaching young people about wellbeing and healthy relationships – it is currently being reviewed, of course we will consider that carefully. But any RSE teaching should be inclusive and factual.

RSE is also vital for tackling misogyny, including preventing violence against women and girls, as well as discrimination against LGBT+ people, and teaching respect for people’s choices.

Modernising gender recognition laws

Labour will modernise, simplify, and reform the intrusive and outdated gender recognition law to a new process. 

We will remove indignities for trans people who deserve recognition and acceptance, while retaining the need for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a specialist doctor, enabling access to the healthcare pathway for those who need it. Nearly a quarter of trans people don’t know how to access transition-related healthcare. 

Alongside this, Labour will uphold the Equality Act, includ[ing] its single-sex exceptions. Sex and gender are different.

I’ve been clear that the discourse around the lives of trans people has become far too toxic. Labour will always treat trans people with respect and dignity. My Labour government – if we come in to serve – will provide a reset moment for those in the LGBT+ community who want to live as they choose in accordance with the law.

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