The one question no one should be asking this general election

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (centre) welcomes  Chris Webb (left centre) the newly elected MP for Blackpool South, on his first day at work in the Houses of Parliament
-Credit: (Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

It was a sight to behold.

A sodden Rishi Sunak gawking down the camera announcing to the UK a general election would be happening come July 4. As he waffled on about “earning trust”, a mere two years into becoming a coronated Prime Minister, the lyrics of D:Ream’s hit Things Can Only Get Better drowned out whatever straw the millionaire was about to desperately clutch.

The shape of a slight smirk began to mould on my face as I thought about the future - one that didn’t involve the Tories being in power. However, the realisation quickly dawned on me. If this future was to come to fruition, it would likely mean Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party would be in control and as quickly as the excitement entered my body about the pending general election, it exited.

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No doubt June, Pride Month, will now be filled with politicians debating our right to exist, chopping and changing their opinions as each whiff of power passes their noses and continuing to see us as hurdles to get past rather than human beings. When I say politicians, I do include some Labour members.

Just because Labour is somewhat - at times arguably - “better” than the Tories does not mean they do not have much to do to gain the trust of our community.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for a general election at the start of July -Credit:PA Wire

A glance at Labour’s track record causes concern as a queer person. But don’t just take my word for it, here are some of the more notable examples from the party’s leader himself: Keir Starmer has, on various occasions, appeared to speak in favour of teachers outing LGBTQ+ pupils to parents, changed the party's stance on the positive difference of self-ID which would make legal transitioning much less bureaucratic, was the only 2020 Labour leadership candidate not to sign the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights pledges (he instead backed an alternative set of pledges from LGBT+ Labour), and has said he “respects” JK Rowling’s controversial views on trans issues.

If you are in the privileged position to have time with any of the political leaders during said campaigns, I beg of you not to tiresomely ask them to define “what a woman is”.

Their answer, whatever it may be, won’t cut a single second of time off the years of waiting lists trans people face, it won’t decrease suicide, homelessness and hate crime rates for the community and it certainly won’t get us anywhere closer to where we need to be as a society.

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What it will do however is add more fuel to the already blazing inferno of the culture war that queer people find themselves battling daily without a choice.

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve only highlighted issues that largely impact transgender people up to now and that’s because you’re right, I have. But trans issues are queer issues and queer issues are LGBTQ+ issues and that means every letter of the acronym - especially, when at times, it’s life or death.

Of course, there is more to consider than just equality and many within the community, including myself, will take a pragmatic stance when choosing which box we will draw our cross in.

Having said all that, I appreciate still voting out a party that is seen as actively cruel by much of the community is a start, but don’t be fooled - we have a tremendously long way to go until the Labour Party proves it is anywhere near the standards the Queer community deserves and needs.

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