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Political manifestos and the LGBTQIA+ community

Posted on 20 June 2024

With the run-up to the General Election coinciding with Pride Month, we take a look at the promises made by the major political parties (Conservatives, Greens, Labour and Liberal Democrats) in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community in their respective manifestos. All parties, to varying extents, have made at least some pledges which have the potential to affect the lives of those identifying as LGBTQIA+.

A number of the parties have made specific comments in relation to topics which have been a particular focus in recent years, such as the gender recognition process (which allows an adult in the UK to change their legal gender) and conversion therapy (referring to the controversial practice which tries to change or suppress someone's sexuality or gender identity).

Conservative Party

The Conversative manifesto is largely focused on sex and gender in relation to LGBTQIA+ policies: "Biological sex is a reality." The manifesto confirms that "provisions and protections" will continue for "those whose sense of self does not match their biological sex" and also assures the "safety and privacy of women and girls" is not undermined.

The Equality Act

To provide clarity on the meaning of sex and gender, the Conservatives will introduce primary legislation to "clarify that the protected characteristic of sex in the Equality Act means biological sex". This is aimed at guaranteeing single sex services and spaces in for example healthcare and sports, and protecting women and girls.

The party also pledges to legislate so that "an individual can only have one sex in the eyes of the law", citing the need for one approach across the UK.

Transgender healthcare 

The Conservatives pledge to complete implementation of the Cass Review Final Report and to protect young people from what it describes as "ideologically-driven care" and to ensure the NHS follows evidence-based best practice. It also plans to legislate against the private prescription and supply of puberty blockers for gender dysphoria.

The importance of single sex spaces in healthcare is reiterated throughout the manifesto. It pledges to amend the NHS Constitution to recognise the right of every patient to request single-sex accommodation and same-sex intimate care.

In response to trans-inclusive terminology in the NHS, the manifesto states: "Words such as ‘breastfeeding’ and ‘mother’ will not be replaced by ‘chestfeeding’ and ‘birthing parent’."

Conversion therapy

The party states that legislation around the “abhorrent” practice of conversion therapy is a "very complex issue", and they will therefore take more time before reaching a final judgement on the issue. They note that existing criminal law already offers "robust protections". For example, physical violence that would be carried out as part of conversion therapy is illegal in the UK (covered by, for example, the Sexual Offences Act, the Criminal Justice Act, and Offences Against the Person Act). However, there is still a gap which allows 'talking' therapy to continue.

LGBTQIA+ policies in schools

The Conservatives will pass legislation to ensure schools follow its teacher guidance on how best to support gender questioning school and college students; parents will have a right to know if their child "wants to be treated as the opposite sex", and schools will have to involve parents when making decisions about their children.

Commitment to Human Rights

In relation to immigration, the Conservative party states: "If we are forced to choose between our security and the jurisdiction of a foreign court, including the ECtHR, we will always choose our security". Historically, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has played a central role in the protection of LGBTQIA+ rights in the UK (Dudgeon v United Kingdom; Smith and Grady v United Kingdom). The manifesto is unclear as to how this relationship will develop in the future.

Finally, the Conservatives state they are "proud" of their record on "delivering for LGBT people" and will continue to do so. The manifesto cites the Same Sex Marriage Act (in fact, passed under the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, with a majority of Conservative MPs voting against) and the roll out of PrEP as its success stories.

The Green Party

The Green Party's manifesto makes several policy commitments in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community. The Green Party's manifesto makes several policy commitments in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community.


The party pledges to retain a programme of age-appropriate evidence-based relationships, sex, and health education inclusive of LGBTQIA+ content and resources in schools.


In relation to LGBTQIA+ healthcare, the party makes two commitments:

  • Ensuring specific mental health provisions for LGBTQIA+ communities;
  • Working towards ending new cases of HIV transmission by 2030 by facilitating access to HIV prevention medicine and renewing optout HIV testing programmes in high-risk areas.


The party has expressed its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention of Human Rights, and the European Court of Human Rights. It pledges to defend the Human Rights Act, support direct access to ECHR rights in the domestic courts, and restore legal aid for public law cases, allowing those lacking sufficient funds to access justice in relation to decisions made by public bodies.


The party also plans to implement several policies tackling hate crime and gender-based violence. The latter has been shown to disproportionately affect transgender women.

Transgender and non-binary rights

In relation to transgender and non-binary rights, the party supports:

  • self-ID, i.e. the right to change a gender marker to reflect one's chosen gender without diagnosis or surgery;
  • an end to the spousal veto, which currently requires married trans people to obtain spousal permission before applying for a gender recognition certificate; and
  • the availability of an X gender marker for non-binary and intersex people, who wish for their identity to be reflected in their passports.


Throughout its manifesto, Labour emphasises its belief that Britain should be for everyone, “Whoever you are, wherever you come from”. In relation to the LGBTQIA+ community, this is reflected in the section titled ‘Break down barriers to opportunity’, where the party has made four key pledges:

Transgender and non-binary rights

The first two pledges are in relation to transgender and non-binary rights. The party has promised to end conversion therapy, including a ban on trans-conversion therapies. It has also promised to “modernise, simplify and reform” gender recognition laws by bringing in a new process. The proposal itself doesn't go into specifics, with the only clarifying statements being that such a new process would remove “indignities for trans people” but would retain the need for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a medical professional.  

It has subsequently been reported that, in terms of simplifying the gender recognition process, Labour plans to remove the spousal veto, as well as the requirement that applicants provide evidence to show that they have been living in their acquired gender for two years. In its place, Labour proposes a two-year cooling off period after a GRC has been applied for, with a single doctor specialising in gender issues being able to provide a medical report to support the change.  


The party has promised to protect the LGBTQIA+ community and disabled people by making all existing strands of hate crime an aggravated offence.

The Equality Act

Labour states that they are proud of the Equality Act. It currently allows for the provision of single or separate sex services in certain circumstances (‘exceptions’). Labour will continue to support implementation of these exceptions.


In a section of the manifesto dealing with building an NHS fit for the future, Labour has made two further pledges which may impact those in the LGBTQIA+ community; it has promised to commission a new HIV action plan in England aimed at pursuing the end of HIV cases by 2030, and it has pledged that it will work to implement the recommendations of the Cass Review to ensure that young people with gender dysphoria receive appropriate and high-quality care through the NHS.

Liberal Democrats

Section 19 of the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto deals with rights and equality and sees the party lay down their main policies relating to the LGBTQIA+ community. Broadly, they promise to respect everyone’s rights, regardless of their gender identities and sexual orientations.

Transgender and non-binary rights

The party has pledged to ban all forms of conversion therapies and practices, and plans to simplify the gender recognition process in a number of ways, including planning to recognise non-binary identities in law. These plans will no doubt be welcomed by many in the LGBTQIA+ community. The recognition of non-binary persons already happens in a number of countries around the world but, to date, has not been adopted in the UK. When applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, the Liberal Democrats plan:

  • to remove the requirement for medical reports, and
  • to end spousal vetoes.


The party also promises to improve diversity in the workplace by requiring large employers to publish various information, including LGBTQIA+ employment levels (amongst other data).

Immigration and asylum

In relation to immigration and asylum, the party plans to provide refugees with safe and legal routes to sanctuary in three ways. First, they plan to offer asylum to people who would otherwise face violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Secondly, they plan to end the culture of disbelief for LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers and, thirdly, to never refuse an LGBTQIA+ applicant on the basis that they could be discreet.

The International section of the manifesto meanwhile promises that the Liberal Democrats will champion human rights around the world by “developing a comprehensive strategy for promoting the decriminalisation of homosexuality and advancing LGBT+ rights”.

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