The future of the left since 1884

The Ideal Candidate: Discussion paper

Part of the diversity series, this report reveals there is more to be done to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in the Labour party.

Share

Huge strides have been made towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality, thanks in big part to the actions of Labour party politicians. Section 28 has been abolished, equal marriage rights have been secured, and society is becoming more tolerant and accepting of difference by the day. But beneath these headline figures, it is clear that there is still more to do. There are only three lesbian or bisexual Labour women MPs, no trans MPs and no LGBT Labour MPs from a black, asian or minority ethnic background. Recent weeks have seen homophobic insults directed at LGBT activists online. And we know too little about the state of LGBT representation in the Labour party because no one collects and publishes the data.

Using a range of evidence from LGBT members across the Labour party, this paper reveals that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is still a problem within Labour’s ranks. This ranges from direct discrimination in the selection process to unconscious bias from often well-meaning members, and it all seems to revolve around one central theme: that LGBT people do not meet outdated standards of what makes ‘the ideal candidate’. They are not, in the words of one roundtable participant, the ‘white man with 2.4 children living in a big house with a wife making jam’.

To ensure fair representation for LGBT people at every level, this discussion paper argues the Labour party should do three things:

  • Understand the problem it is facing by collecting data and ensuring diversity
  • Take tough action to remove the barriers in the selection process by tackling discrimination, ensuring transparency and improving training
  • Encourage more LGBT people to join and ensure they are welcomed by reforming local parties and giving LGBT people a greater voice

You can download full data tables to accompany this report here.

Download now

Author

Olivia Bailey

Olivia is a strategic director to The Changing Work Centre and deputy general secretary at the Fabian Society.

@livbailey

Fabian membership

Join the Fabian Society today and help shape the future of the left

You’ll receive the quarterly Fabian Review and at least four reports or pamphlets each year sent to your door

Be a part of the debate at Fabian conferences and events and join one of our network of local Fabian societies

Join the Fabian Society
Fabian Society

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close