Southwark must stand with trans community, Lib Dems demand

14 Nov 2023
Trans Pride Flag

The Southwark Lib Dems have proposed a motion that calls on the council to support self-identification for trans people as well as enshrining access to public facilities and services based on identified gender.

The motion also calls on Southwark Council to release a statement which asserts, unequivocally, that trans men are men, trans women are women and non-binary identities are valid.

Cllr Victor Chamberlain, who is proposing the motion, said this would be a huge step forward and a bold, progressive statement that would help trans people feel safe in Southwark.

The Lib Dem group reached out to the Southwark Labour group offering to propose a joint motion, but the Labour group rejected the opportunity to second the motion.

After Labour leadership u-turned on their support for self-id in July this year, Cllr Chamberlain wrote to the leader of the council asking him to join him a in a joint motion supporting the trans community, but received no response.

In response to Labour’s U-turn, LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall released a statement condemning the decision and detailing how the UK is now “lagging behind” other countries in terms of trans rights.

Hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ have increased in recent years, including a 186% increase in hate crimes against trans people in the past five years.

According to the 2021 Census, Southwark is home to the 5th largest community of people identifying as trans or non-binary in England and the 4th largest community of people identifying as lesbian, gay and bisexual.

Commenting, Southwark Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Victor Chamberlain said:

“Consistent attacks on the trans community by Tory and Labour MPs, the media and anonymous online accounts have created a toxic and dangerous culture for trans people. As the home to one of the UK's largest and most diverse LGBTQ+ communities, Southwark must make a bold and unequivocal statement that we stand with our trans residents and are committed to protecting basic human rights. Our motion is about making that compassionate and mature statement. We hope Labour councillors in Southwark support it, even if their party leadership doesn’t.

In Trans Awareness Week we must remember that the trans community is not a political football, but a strong local community of people who deserve the same protections and rights as everyone else.”