In Parliament on 21st February, Luke spoke in solidarity with the trans community and called on the government to reform the “broken” Gender Recognition Act 2004.
Luke said that trans people face ‘humiliation, massive costs and mental health crises’ in trying to legally change their gender, due to “the difficulty in amassing the documents, the delays, the lack of a right of appeal, the confusion, and the fear for many trans people of having a panel of people they do not know deciding on their lives.”
Luke added that trans healthcare – and regional inequalities within it – are also burning issues that the government must address. The waiting time at the West of England Specialist Gender Identity Clinic currently stands at five years and seven months, a figure Luke said should ‘shame’ the government.
He criticised the fact that the discussion about the trans community has become increasingly divisive, arguing that there is more that unites us than divides us and that LGBT issues must not become part of a culture war.
I believe strongly that trans men are men, that trans women are women and that being non-binary is valid.
I am proud to be Plymouth’s first out Member of Parliament. I think that gives me not juts a platform, but a responsibility, to talk about LGBT rights.
The struggle for equality is a long and difficult one. We know from the experience of equality movements to date that we do not win by bashing one protected group with the rights of another protected group. I hope the government will reform the GRA so we can get to other issues that matter to the trans community.