Politics

The UK Has Its First Out Transgender Parliamentary Candidate

Labour's Emily Brothers said she hopes she can be a "positive role model".

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Emily Brothers has become the UK's first out transgender parliamentary candidate for a major political party.

emilybrothers.com

Brothers is standing for Labour in the London constituency of Sutton & Cheam. She said she is speaking about her gender transition because voters should know everything about her if she is to win their trust.

After losing her eyesight as a child, she was involved in the campaign to secure Disability Living Allowance for blind people during the 1980s. She has since worked at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and is a former president of the National Federation of the Blind.

Although there have previously been transgender political candidates, until now no one has chosen to make this fact public of their own accord.

In an interview with Pink News, Brothers said she is from a "traditional working-class background" and that her family broke off contact after she transitioned. She added:

I don't want to be somebody who has notoriety as having a transgender background, but I also believe it's an experience that has value to it, that I can be a positive role model.

I have two great children who are very supportive, but my wider family are not and have broken their connections with me.

There is vast under-representation of disabled people and people with transgender experience in public life, and there is of course vast under-representation of women in parliament, and that needs to change.

"My family didn’t understand those issues and I didn’t feel able or confident to talk about those issues," she told Pink News.

emilybrothers.com

"It was only with the internet that I was able to explore and find out so much more information. I wasn’t the only person like this in the world and that was revolutionary to me. The only way I could continue was going through transition and living my life as Emily."

Councillor Bev Craig of LGBT Labour told LabourList the announcement was a cause for celebration:

"We're incredibly proud that Emily has taken the decision to come out as trans. We know all too well that trans people still face too many barriers in politics and beyond. We are pleased that Emily has the full support of the Labour Party."

"It was Labour who delivered huge progress for trans legal equality when in government. And it will only be a Labour government – with Emily as an MP – who will continue to fight for trans communities."

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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