UK Labour's awful GRC plan. a photo of Keir Starmer at a hustings in 2020. Credit Rwendal via Wikimedia Commons
UK Labour’s awful GRC plan; a photo of Keir Starmer at a hustings in 2020. Credit Rwendal via Wikimedia Commons

UK Labour’s awful GRC plan has been announced and caused an uproar in the transgender community. After a series of other transphobic outings from the party pegged for Parliament, this move feels very much like the final nail in the coffin for being able to defend them as a queer person.

UK Labour’s awful GRC plan is objectively a worse and more restrictive plan than what our Tory overlords landed on after deliberately ignoring multiple public consultations and polls. The current system requires an arbitrarily long two year long wait before applications will be considered. Labour propose to change this to a ‘cooling off period’ that occurs after an application is sent in.

Objectively this is worse. A trans person - my self in fact - could have been out as a trans person for over a decade and under the current system face no wait time to access the GRC system. All I need is two years worth of documents and I can - theoretically - apply, pay my ‘nominal fee’ and have a new gender sent to me in the post within 6–8 weeks.

Under UK Labour’s awful GRC plan the two year wait would only begin when I sent in the application. This means that if I were to say get married like how I did last year I would have to wait 2 years longer to get my GRC under UK Labour’s awful GRC plan vs the current system implemented by tories being deliberately half-arsed.

They are so transphobic that they are making the Tories look competent by comparison. But it shouldn’t surprise you. Labour fought against implementation of the Gender Recognition Act and had to be sued into submission by a bus driver, amongst others, under Tony Blair in 2003.

UK Labour resisted the implementation of legal recognition for transgender people to the hilt but fell to Christine Goodwin’s legal challenge at the European Court of Human Rights. They ruled in her favour on the basis of two human rights articles; the right to respect for private and family life and the right to marry and found a family.

As a result UK Labour passed the GRA 2004, championed for it’s progressiveness at the time for having no requirement to surgically or medically transition, but still fundamentally a piece of legislation designed to control and restrict transgender lives for no real benefit to the public.

UK Labour were no friends of trans people in 2004 and they are still no friends of trans people in 2024. Between this, repeated attacks on the transgender community by senior Labour leaders and Rosie Duffield, the abysmal treatment of Michael Cashman, Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn and so many others The Labour Party is barely distinguishable from it’s Tory counterparts.

I think one of the things that really underscores this for me is how keen Keir Starmer and co have been to take to the papers and agree with transphobic rhetoric to appease JK Rowling’s band of bigots. Only a few months after having scolded Rishi Sunak for saying that exact same thing in Parliament while the mother of a murdered transgender girl was in the wings.

The anti-trans bigotry that motivated the actions of the teens who murdered Brianna Ghey wasn’t an innate fact of life. They learned it from somewhere; they learned it from watching our media and our society. They learned it from the adults around them who should’ve known better.

Yet even now those adults are currently doing everything they can to ignore reporting on the fact that 16 further trans and gender questioning youth have died as a result of anti-trans bigotries infecting the UK, as reported by Jolyon Maugham and the Good Law Project.

Instead these politicians and media types are all sucking up to a rich bigot who will never think you are going far enough in your cruelty and humiliation. Whilst backing policy that will, as countless experts have warned, result in more suffering and avoidable death amongst the most vulnerable in our communities.

I don’t think any queer person or anyone who considers themselves an ally to our communities can defend this party any longer. I want the tories out just as much as anyone; but I don’t think that’s what you’ll get by voting red in this general election.