Green Party co-leader Sian Berry delivering a speech

Green Party co-leader Sian Berry pledged today to make London the “most trans inclusive city in the world” if elected as the city’s mayor in May. She made the commitment while launching her plan for protecting and extending the rights of LGBTIQA+ people in London.

Berry announced that – as mayor – she would launch a commission into the needs of trans and non-binary Londoners, as well as creating a trans rights action plan for the city. According to Berry, the action plan would seek to remove barriers trans people face in accessing healthcare, employment and housing. She also highlighted that the plan would act to tackle day to day discrimination.

According to a 2017 report by LGBTIQA+ advocacy group Stonewall, four in every ten trans people had been victims of a hate crime in the prior 12 months and one in four have been homeless at some point in their lives.

Speaking on the announcement, Berry said she would do “everything in her power” to improve the lives of trans Londoners. She said:

I want London to be the most trans inclusive city in the world.

Trans people are currently among society’s most marginalised communities, facing discrimination every day, and unacceptable barriers to the basic necessities of life like housing, employment and healthcare.

I am proud to say that trans men are men, trans women are women, and non binary identities exist and are valid. I will make it clear that transphobia has no place in this amazing city, and it is my duty to make sure every Londoner has their rights protected.

I promise to do everything in my power to ensure every single trans person in London has a safe, fulfilling and joyful life.

‘Countering the culture of prejudice’

Berry’s announcement is part of a wider batch of policies she hopes will strengthen the rights of LGBTIQA+ people in London. These include a commitment to transforming a Greater London Authority (GLA) owned building into a LGBTIQA+ community hub, funding LGBTIQA+ awareness training for GLA staff who commission and deliver services and supporting local authorities and communities to designate LGBTIQA+ venues as assets of community value. Properties designated assets of community value are granted additional protections from development, often touted as a mechanism for preventing developers from converting venues into flats and limiting the spread of gentrification.

The commitments made as part of Berry’s campaign have the backing of the Green Party’s LGBTIQA+ wing. Ria Patel, co-chair of the LGBTIQA+ Greens said the policies would be an important step for countering prejudice. Patel said:

It’s been heartbreaking to see the awful backlash against trans rights and it’s a disgrace to see newspapers and some politicians fuelling the flames of bigotry.

Our action plan would look to address societal transphobia and counter the culture of misrepresentations, misinformation and prejudice.

The Green Party has long been a leader in supporting and promoting LGBTIQA+ rights. In 2016, the party strengthened its policy in this area. At their party conference that year, Green members overwhelmingly passed a policy which states “trans men are men, trans women are women, and that non-binary identities exist and are valid”.

Recent opinion polls suggest support for the Greens is on the rise. A poll from Ipsos MORI released on Monday found that 8 per cent of people said they would vote Green in a general election, more than would vote for the Liberal Democrats.

Image credit: Justin McDermott – Creative Commons

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