What I said at the Liberal Democrat Conference, Pt. 2: On Trans Equality

As well as moving the sex work motion on Saturday, I had also written a speech regarding the federal policy paper on equality, which had been written and drafted by several people including the lovely Cantabridgians Zoe O’Connell and Belinda Brooks-Gordon (who had helped with, and summated, on the sex work motion). It’s a really good, and rather radical, motion, and I put in a card to speak on the trans aspects of the motion. Most of the debate centred around a Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats amendment regarding faith schools admissions, but I was eventually called… immediately after Zoe, who had already covered parts of my speech. As previously, the speech is below the cut.

Good morning, Conference.

During the Prides over Summer, the Labour Party marched under the banner “Only Labour can deliver equality”. That would be insulting enough to a party that got the Tories to introduce same-sex marriage, but to the trans community, it’s a stab in the back.

Let’s remember what trans equality means to Labour. It means being forced by Strasbourg to allow gender recognition nearly a decade after we first proposed it. It means stealing away our marriages, because the government has, and I quote, a “fundamental” opposition to same-sex marriages. It means allowing people to ban one of the most high risk populations from sheltered accommodations while restricting our right to organise. It means holding the same-sex marriage bill to ransom, and then supporting spouses to veto our marriages. It means four years of homophobic innuendo about the coalition. And after all that, they have the audacity to demand our support. Clearly, we can’t trust Labour to deliver for us. Clearly, only the Lib Dems can deliver equality.

We need representation. We need people to fly our standard high. I’m happy and thankful for every parliamentarian, PPC, councillor, local party, and member–I had a whole list, but you know who you are–that supports us. It makes the classic Plus slogan days ring true: we’ve always been there for you, and we always will. And above all else, it makes me proud to be a member of this party.

We have a duty to protect our most vulnerable citizens. On Saturday, you voted to protect sex workers. Yesterday, for survivors of child abuse. And today, trans people. We must combat transphobia. Too many of us have died from its effects. Mia Henderson. Brandon Teena. Lucy Meadows. And even when it doesn’t kill, it hurts immensely. There are women in this party who have been harassed, heckled, and stalked for the crime of speaking up. I know, I’m one of them.

I’m going to finish with a quote from Julian Huppert during the same-sex marriage debate:

The trans com­mu­nity is still mar­gin­alised and will con­tinue to be after the Bill is passed. Far too often LGBT seems to stop too early. We must look at that.

This policy paper isn’t perfect, but it’s still excellent. Please vote for the motion, and please vote for the amendments. Let’s make our society a fairer society.

And if that doesn’t convince you to vote for motherhood and apple pie, remember that we have an opportunity to piss off Julie Bindel.

Thank you.

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