What does Labour’s election win mean for LGBTQ+ rights in the UK?

The Labour Party has won the 2024 UK general election by a landslide, leaving many wondering what the victory means for LGBTQ+ rights. 

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer will be the next prime minister, replacing Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak, who had led the country over the past 20 months. 

Amid an increase in anti-trans rhetoric from the Conservative government in recent years, Labour has also adopted an increasingly troubling stance on trans issues. Ahead of the election on Thursday (4 July), Starmer said in an interview with The Times that trans women do not have the right to use women-only spaces, even if they have a gender recognition certificate. 

Starmer’s comments have left the LGBTQ+ community concerned about the party’s commitment to equality – even if Starmer promised a “reset moment” on “toxic” discourse in his pre-election statement to PinkNews.

Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer walks with his wife Victoria Starmer
Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer walks with his wife Victoria Starmer. ( Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Where does Labour stand on LGBTQ+ issues?

Starmer’s comment to The Times reflects what was set out in the party’s manifesto, which says Labour is “proud of our Equality Act and the rights and protections it affords women, we will continue to support the implementation of its single-sex exceptions”.

In its manifesto to “change Britain”, Labour also pledged to bring in a ban on conversion therapy, something the Tory government has continued to delay on, with numerous broken promises.

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The party has also promised to “modernise, simplify and reform the intrusive and outdated gender-recognition law to a new process” following the UK government’s blocking of Scotland’s landmark gender law reforms. 

Labour’s manifesto also pledges to escalate all forms of hate crime to an aggravated offence. 

Are there any concerns for LGBTQ+ rights under a Labour government?

Despite Labour’s manifesto suggesting positive change for the LGBTQ+ community, concern has been circulating about if Starmer can be trusted on trans rights. 

His recent comments around trans rights and support for so-called ‘gender-critical’ individuals, including re-elected Labour MP Rosie Duffield, are a worrying sign for the LGBTQ+ community. 

The former director of public prosecutions has previously said that trans women are women, and trans men are men, yet his party have shown support for legislation that supports the opposite. 

Starmer backed legislation that would ban trans women from female hospital wards, and also supported a trans sports ban, which he said was “common sense.”

He has also described a woman as an “adult female” – a dog whistle phrase typically used by anti-trans groups.

Starmer’s comments and wavering stance on trans rights have seen LGBT+ Labour, a campaign group representing queer Labour voters, call for the party to create a new definition of transphobia. 

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