Trans politicians, part 2 (1999-2009)

As part of LGBT History Month, I have been researching the history of openly trans politicians in the UK and I will be posting these over the next few days. You can read part one of this mini-series here and part two, covering 2010 to 2016, here.


Jennifer Liddle (Liberal Democrats)
1999: City Council Candidate for East Chesterton Ward, Cambridge
2000-2007: Cambridge, East Chesterton (Reelected 2004)
2008-2010: Cambridge, East Chesterton

Jenny Bailey (Liberal Democrats)
2002-2008: Cambridge, East Chesterton (Releected 2004)
2007-2008: Mayor of Cambridge

There is a question as to exactly where in the timeline Liddle and Bailey – partners who represented the same ward on Cambridge City Council at the same time – should appear in the narrative. Liddle first stood in 1999 before being elected in 2000, but there was little or no media coverage at the time. Liddle herself has described their trans status as “the worst-kept secret in Cambridge” and then County Councillor for the same ward, Julian Huppert, says that “there were certainly voters who knew … it did come up occasionally on doorsteps. Not, sadly, in a positive light*

They did not receive widespread coverage until 2007, shortly before Bailey was sworn in as Mayor of Cambridge which, as far as is known, makes Bailey the first and to date only trans mayor in the UK. The publicity didn’t seem to hurt Liddle’s election when she re-stood in 2008, gaining 38.4% of the boat, versus 38.3% in 2004.

Regardless of where chronologically their entry should appear, Liddle and Bailey began a near-continuous run of openly trans representation on Cambridge City Council, broken only for one 12 month period in 2014-2015.

Sources and further reading:
Cambridge Local Elections – Candidates A – B
Cambridge Local Elections – Candidates O – L
First sex-swap mayor is sworn in. BBC News, 24th May 2007
Transsexual Becomes Mayor in Cambridge, England. Fox News, 25th May 2007
* In conversation with the author


Rebecca Baty (Conservatives)
2002: Council Candidate for Bruce Grove ward, Haringey

Relatively little is documented about Baty, who stood for election as a Tory candidate in London in 2002. This was a no-hope seat for the Conservative party, and despite being the top-placed candidate from her party Baty managed less than a quarter of the number of votes of the lowest-placed Labour candidate. Despite this, she received some press coverage. In 2002, merely being a candidate whilst out as trans was notable enough to be newsworthy.

Baty also stood in 1998 in the Quadrant Ward of Islington, but does not appear to have been out at the time as no press coverage of her from that election has been located.

Although non-principal council results have not been included, it’s worth noting that in 2009 Baty also stood unsuccessfully for Ramsgate Parish council, in the same ward that in 2015 saw UKIPs only known trans councillor, Sarah Larkin, secure a seat.

Sources and further reading:
London Borough Council Elections, 7th May 1998
London Borough Council Elections, 2nd May 2002
McGowan, Patrick. Tories to field first transsexual. Evening Standard 14th March 2002
Sex change Tory hopeful says she should be judged on her merits. Scotsman 15th March 2002
Allen, Peter. The Lady Who Turned Is to Stand for Tories. Daily Mail. 15th March 2002.
Parish of Ramsgate Election – Thursday, 4th June, 2009


Krystyna Haywood
2002: Council Candidate for Park, Sheffield (Liberal Democrats)
2007: Council Candidate for Arbourthorne, Sheffield (Green)

Sources and further reading:
Norton, Cherry. The pressure and confusion are terrible. Independent 29th July 1999.
Local Elections Archive Project – Sheffield City Council Election Results 2002
Local Elections Archive Project – Sheffield City Council Election Results 2007


Stephanie Dearden (Liberal Democrats)
2005: Westminster Parliamentary Candidate for Tooting
2006, 2010, 2014: Council Candidate for Graveney, Wandsworth

It’s not clear if Dearden was already “out” before the Leicester South by-election in 2004, but an unattributed attack leaflet distributed during the run-up to polling day put her name in the public domain and, according to subsequent interviews during the election campaign, Dearden’s own web site initially made mention of it. As with MacRae back in 1992, being a candidate only likely to secure third-place didn’t stop interest from the Daily Mail, which briefly interviewed her in the weeks prior to the election.

Dearden is still involved in politics, having unsuccessfully stood for election to the same area three times – in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

Sources and further reading:
Cohen, Nick. The ghost of Enoch. The Guardian 22nd August 2004.
Letts, Quentin. Not Hattie Jacques, but the ladies are no pushover Mail Online. 8th April 2005
Bain, Charlie. Lib-Dem Lady Who Was a Man Mail on Sunday. 1st May 2005
UK General Election result for Tooting, 2005
Wandsworth Council election results 2006
Wandsworth Council election results for Graveney Ward 2010
Wandsworth Council election results 2014


Ailsa Spindler (Scottish Greens)
2005: Westminster Parliamentary Candidate for Edinburgh West

Although she did not make it into the collective memory of the trans community or LGBT politicians in the same way as Dearden did, possibly due to being a member of the smaller Scottish Green Party, Spindler stood in the same General Election. Public knowledge of her trans status appears to have been entirely at her own initiative – multiple sources published on the same day give the same quotes, suggesting a press release simuntaneously sent to multiple outlets.

Sources and further reading:
UK General Election result for Edinburgh West, 2005
Green Party candidate says sex change is not an election issue Scotsman. 23rd April 2005
Stokes, Christina. The Sex-Change Green Who Wants Voters to Swing Her Way in May Daily Mail. 23rd April 2005
Stokes, Christina. Sex Swop Boxer Bids to Land Knockout Blow for the Green Party The Mirror. 25th April 2005

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