The party has pointed to statistics confirming that almost a quarter of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people – and half of young trans people – have attempted suicide. Labour has pledged to “prioritise access to mental health services for young people, including those bullied because of their sexuality or gender identity and ensure teachers are equipped to identify problems early and link children up with support.”
Labour is keen to underline the progress that has been made on LGBTI rights within the last 20 years, but argues that “there is no room for complacency” and that more progress is required.
Labour is pledging its commitment to a wide package of measures aimed at challenging discrimination and promoting “positive representation for LGBT young people, including action on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
Labour is also seeking to legislate further on hate crime.
The manifesto, entitled A Better Future for Britain’s LGBT Community, makes five key promises:
a) Tackle the discrimination that holds LGBT people back:
Labour will strengthen the law on LGBT hate crime, undertake a review of gender identity law and policy and implement ‘Turing’s Law’ offering posthumous pardons to gay men convicted for homosexuality.
b) An education free from homophobia, biphobia and transphobia:
With Labour, teachers will be equipped to tackle LGBT-phobic bullying, and we will introduce age-appropriate compulsory sex and relationship education in all State-supported schools so that young people learn to respect each other’s relationships
c) Leadership on LGBT rights around the world:
Labour will appoint the UK’s first International envoy on LGBT rights to promote respect on LGBT rights globally, and review the procedures for asylum seekers fleeing persecution for their sexuality or gender identity, to ensure the rules are upheld fairly and humanely.
d) Accessible and supportive health services:
With Labour, people will have an equal right to mental health treatment including talking therapies and we will work with the trans community to improve access to gender care services.
e) Fairer and more diverse representation in public life:
Labour will work to improve LGBT representation in Parliament and challenge narrow representations of LGBT people across public life.
These are, of course, the “headline” pledges. Within the detail there are some interesting and welcome promises to equip teachers to deliver better support and identify problems, to introduce “positive (but unspecified) measures to improve [LGBT] representation among MPs”, to protect the Human Rights Act, to implement “Turing’s Law”, to improve access to gender care services, and to “undertake a review of gender identity law and policy”.
Labour are also keen to promote their policy of appointing an international envoy for LGBT rights, a plan announced by Ed Miliband in March 2014.
There is nothing explicitly aimed at intersex people within the manifesto, and many of the pledges are unhelpfully lacking in detail. However, it has been applauded by actor Sir Ian McKellen who said: “I am impressed by the aims and commitments of Labour’s manifesto for LGBT people, particularly the appointment of Michael Cashman as an international LGBT Rights Envoy. Such initiatives cost little, yet help make the world a better safer place for us all.”