Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has doubled down on her support for trans people and their right to self-identification in an impassioned speech.
Rayner showed her support for trans people in a recorded video message broadcast at LGBT+ Labour’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Saturday (November 14).
The deputy leader told attendees at the virtual AGM that she was “really honoured” to have been asked to speak at the event.
“Ever since I was a teenager I’ve been welcomed by the LGBT+ community,” Rayner said.
“I want to thank LGBT+ Labour for all the work that you do, especially this year, which has been a tough year for all of us, but especially those who already feel isolated or alone,” she continued.
“LGBT+ Labour do amazing work protecting the hard-won rights that we have today and fighting for justice and a better future for all.”
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner told LGBT+ people: ‘Your fight is my fight too.’
Angela Rayner continued: “Hate crimes are on the rise, and the LGBTQ+ community is facing increased homophobia, transphobia and discrimination.
“I want you to know that I am your ally, and I am proud to stand with you. Your fight is my fight too.
“And on behalf of the entire Labour Party and the Labour movement, your fight is our fight.
“Being an ally gets to the heart of what it means to be a socialist. Standing up for the oppressed, fighting the prejudices that exist in our society and having each other’s back.
We need to see self-declaration for transgender people, and we need the full roll-out of LGBTQ+ inclusive education for all in our schools.
“I am proud of our Party’s record fighting for and advancing LGBTQ+ rights, from abolishing Section 28 to winning marriage equality.”
Rayner continued: “And I am proud that I stood with you to make sure that we passed compulsory Sex and Relationship Education for schools so that we can overcome prejudice and make sure that all our young people can be proud of who they are.
“But we know that there is so much more work to do. Labour’s support for reforming the Gender Recognition Act is clear. We need to see self-declaration for transgender people, and we need the full roll-out of LGBTQ+ inclusive education for all in our schools.
“As I said during Pride Month, everyone should be able to love who they want to love and everyone should be able to love themselves for who they are, and celebrate who they are.
“That’s why I’m so proud to be your ally, and I can’t wait to hopefully see you all at Pride next year.”
Rayner has urged Labour MP Rosie Duffield to ‘reflect’ on her views on trans people.
Rayner’s powerful speech comes just weeks after she urged fellow Labour MP Rosie Duffield to “reflect” on her views on trans people.
Duffield, who was elected Canterbury’s first-ever Labour MP in 2017, has been plagued by accusations that she is “transphobic” since the beginning of August, when she waded into a heated online row about who has a cervix.
Two staffers have since resigned from Duffield’s team, saying that her opinions and comments about trans people were “overtly transphobic” and “detrimental to the welfare of the trans community”.
Speaking to Sky News in October, Angela Rayner said she had been “disgusted by the some of the bile” she had seen on social media regarding the “debate around women’s rights and trans women’s rights”, adding that if you think about being a teenager, “the last thing you need is people debating whether you’re valid or not”.
Addressing the controversy surrounding Duffield, Rayner said: “Rosie Duffield has to reflect on the way people feel about those comments. We all have to. We all have to reflect on what we say, online and offline, and how that is seen by the people in the public and how sometimes that could be seen as hurtful.”
She added: “We need to be more understanding.”
Rayner remains the only senior Labour member who has spoken out over Duffield’s comments.