Ken Livingstone: When the Trans community has friends like these…

Featured on Liberal Democrat VoiceKen Livingstone, mayoral candidate for London, has just developed some policies for the Trans community as part of his manifesto.

Now, I like Ken. If I lived in London he’d probably get my number 2 preference behind Brian Paddick. After all, when the alternative is Boris, I probably don’t need to say much more.

But it’s pretty clear he has absolutely no clue on what issues face the Trans community. Here’s the very first entry:

Most importantly, it will try to mitigate the worst effects of the government’s disastrous NHS privatization. Local commissioning makes the postcode lottery much worse, hitting trans people hard.

What?!?

This is flat-out wrong. At best it’s misinformed, at worst it’s blatant scaremongering.

The Health and Social Care Bill actually nationalises commissioning policy for Trans healthcare. Given the awful attitude of many doctors, this is viewed by the vast majority of Trans campaigners involved in healthcare as a good thing. It will end our constant game of wack-a-mole with PCTs implementing policy that is often as not unlawful.

I doubt that anyone outside of the Tory party thinks every line of the bill is great but for the Trans community, the shift in commissioning policy is a positive thing.

The rest of what’s quoted is pretty weak: Sorting out housing and employment discrimination, improving diversity training. The generic hand-waving sort of thing you expect from any politician interested in equalities in a sort of passing manner. Nothing specific beyond a mention of the Trans Day of Remembrance.

I do hope that the final version is a little more robust on issues:

  • Specific consideration of the situation that lead to Toiletgate in 2008 beyond just “training” would be nice.
  • Backing the Equal Marriage Campaign. (Not just the watered-down Gay Marriage version)
  • And ensuring that London, as an employer and service provided, doesn’t use some of the get-out clauses in the Equality Act 2010, something we’ve done in Cambridge.

I’m pretty livid at Ken for this, because it’s appropriating a marginalised group’s issues, a group I’m a member of, to push a partisan point. In doing so, he’s screwing over that group. Labour tried the same with a ploy to keep ID card just for Trans people after the election and we killed that one dead too, with the help of Julian Huppert MP.

The Liberal Conspiracy piece ends:

The experience has shown me that Ken Livingstone is genuine about being the most trans-supportive politician this country has ever seen.

Genuine? Perhaps, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that. Maybe he’s just been hoodwinked by some partisan element within the Labour party. And I’ll similarly assume that Natacha, the author of the document, has never met Lynne Featherstone, the current Minister for Equalities, and is thus unaware of the work that’s being done there.

But still clueless, and thus not much help.

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