Dec 21, 2019
Boris Johnson’s electoral reform plans that will require a photo ID to vote could prevent trans people from voting, say campaigners.
The bill, first announced in the October Queen’s Speech and reintroduced this week, will make voters provide ID to get their ballot paper.
But the reform suggested and welcomed by the Electoral Commission is already facing opposition from disability, youth and trans campaigners.
Speaking to me, trans and non-binary activist Jamie Windust says:
“It’s a deterrence for many people, not just trans people, as it creates a level of hostility around our democratic right to vote.”
The reform aims to tackle voter fraud, where people impersonate others. A trial in this month’s election saw 800 people turned away from voting.
But the change could have a significant impact on trans people, unable to change their legal gender who present in the gender different from what they were assigned at birth.
“Many people, like myself, don’t have passports or ID because of the very reason that we are then forced into choosing a gender identity that isn’t correct.”
The electoral reform comes at a time of high hostility towards trans people, not least in the media.
This was highlighted this week when J.K. Rowling divided opinion again, in a now long running debate in the media about trans rights.
Rowling and was called a transphobe for siding with Maya Forstater who lost her job after an employment tribunal detailed she had shared transphobic material.
At the appeal, the judge ruled on the matter of being fired for holding anti LGBT+ opinions. Judge Tayler stated, no matter Forstater’s views, she doesn’t have the right to be transphobic.
However, Rowling’s tweet suggested the case was about whether it was OK to “force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?” Adding “#IStandWithMaya”
If Forstater had won the case, it would have set a landmark ruling preventing employers from dismissing staff expressing similar views about LGBT+ rights, as the Guardian reported.