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General Election 2024: Here are the big issues from leading LGBTQ+ organisations

Mermaids, Rainbow Migration, Stonewall, Switchboard, and the Terrence Higgins Trust share their takes on the election

By Alastair James

Election LGBTQ orgs feature
Here are the big issues from leading LGBTQ+ organisations (Image: The Terrence Higgins Trust/Wellcome and Unsplash)

As we approach the General Election (Thursday 4 July) we’ve asked some of the leading LGBTQ+ organisations in the UK for their takes on the big issues facing voters this election.

We’ve also compiled a summary of what each of the main UK political parties has said on LGBTQ+ issues in their manifestos. There’s also our guide to voting in the election.


Mermaids knows from the trans children, young people, as well as families we support, what an increasingly hostile environment the UK has become for our community. Unfortunately, the lived experiences of trans young people are routinely disregarded by politicians and policy makers, when decisions are made which impact them. Our Trans Youth Manifesto has taken the vital steps to clearly understand what trans young people want from their next government.

Schools need to be a safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment where all students feel comfortable to be their authentic selves without fear of judgement. Students have the right to access an education free from discrimination which does not deny the existence or lived experiences of trans and LGBTQ+ young people. And teachers need to be provided with the resources and support they need to build positive relationships with their students that centre their safety, wellbeing, and learning.

Trans young people need access to timely, supportive, and holistic healthcare. The NHS and our Conservative governments have collectively failed young people, with no first appointments offered in over a year; a 5+ year waiting list with over 5,000 young people on it; and further restrictions to medical transition. Research continues to show the overwhelmingly positive benefits gender affirming hormones and puberty blockers continue to have on young people’s mental wellbeing. There are many ways to exist as trans outside of the medical route, however, for those individuals who do require gender related healthcare, they should be able to access it with the same ease as other individuals accessing different health services through the NHS.

Lastly, respect the lived experience and humanity of trans young people. Young or old, trans people deserve the same autonomy and respect as cis people to live their lives authentically, without persecution or hate.

Rainbow Migration

This election, it’s time to raise our voices in support of LGBTQI+ seeking safety here, and tell our politicians what kind of society we want to live in. We must urge the next government to make sure that LGBTQI+ people seeking protection here are welcomed, supported, and allowed to rebuild their lives in safety.

This starts with repealing inhumane legislation passed in the last three years, such as the Illegal Migration Act, and abandoning the Rwanda plan once and for all. The Illegal Migration Act is a cruel piece of legislation that denies people the right to claim refugee protection based solely on how they came to the UK. It allows the government to detain people indefinitely, and in immigration detention LGBTQI+ people experience homophobic bullying, harassment and abuse from staff and others inside detention. Furthermore, the Act enables the government to send people to Rwanda or return others to countries that are clearly dangerous for LGBTQI+ people, such as India and Georgia.

An overwhelming majority of us welcome people who have fled unimaginable horrors. The next government must show kindness and compassion and ensure people seeking safety here are treated with respect, given a fair hearing, and provided with the support they need to rebuild their lives.


The UK is now a rainbow nation, as more of us feel able to live openly and proudly as LGBTQ+ people. One in 30 people is LGB+ and one in 200 is trans and we live in every part of the country. We are surrounded by a community of friends, family, colleagues, and teachers who love us, and who want us to be safe, respected, and supported. Polling shows that the majority of people in every generation, up to those over 75 support LGBTQ+ equality. But in the face of this incredible shift in British society, an extreme minority opposing LGBTQ+ rights has re-tooled and reorganised for the 21st century.

As political leadership on LGBTQ+ equality has drifted, so too has action to champion policy that improves our lives or challenges institutions that are still failing LGBTQ+ people at work, in healthcare, in the justice system, and education. Failure to act on the real issues that LGBTQ+ people face is ruining lives. These failures, if continued, will see wasted potential as another generation grow up with bullying in schools, held back at work, and fearing violence and abuse in communities.

As progress stalls at home, our credibility and leadership globally has plummeted. LGBTQ+ communities around the world who depend on UK leadership in advancing human rights and protection have been left behind. Our friends, allies and trading partners want to see the UK raising the bar for equality with them, not breaking the consensus among advanced democracies.

This is a pivotal moment. It’s time to get the UK back on track, so all LGBTQ+ people in Britain can live freely and safely. It is not too late. And history has shown us that all political parties, in all parts of the UK, can lead the way for LGBTQ+ equality.


As the national LGBTQIA+ support line, Switchboard has a unique vantage point on our community’s most pressing issues ahead of the election. In our upcoming Listen Up! Report, which draws almost 15,000 conversations with LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies in 2023 several critical concerns came to light that voters should consider at the ballot box in the coming days.

We saw a marked increase in individuals seeking support for mental health challenges with 25% of all conversations to Switchboard concerning mental health. 18% of those were from trans and non-binary people. Being LGBTQIA+ often means a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health. This is due to factors like discrimination, difficult coming out experiences, familial rejection, higher rates of bullying or violence, internalised homophobia or transphobia, and more. For our community, this underscores the urgent need for robust, accessible mental health services that are sensitive to the unique experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Equally critical is the state of trans healthcare. We hear from trans individuals who frequently encounter barriers to receiving appropriate, respectful, and timely medical care and recently we have been seeing complete rollbacks in accessing healthcare at all. Delays and discrimination in healthcare services not only impact physical health but also exacerbate mental health issues.

In recent years, we have also heard more and more from people affected by politicians using gender identity as a divisive issue. This strategy has profound real-world consequences for trans individuals and their families. Last year 25% of the conversations we had were with people talking about gender identity. Often these service users share with us about feeling unsafe in this hostile climate.

Approaching the election, voters must consider these issues and support those committed to advancing the rights of LGBTQIA+ people in this country. Our community’s well-being and future depend on it.

Terrence Higgins Trust

When Terry Higgins died 40 years ago, HIV didn’t even have a name, let alone a test or treatment. Now, people can access life-saving HIV treatment and live a normal lifespan. It would have been unthinkable in the 1980s, but we’re now in a position to end new HIV cases by 2030. The election on 4 July 2024 could play a decisive part in making this happen. So, pick wisely.

All the major political parties in England have published their manifestos with the Conservatives, Labour and Greens committing to end new HIV cases by 2030. We’re clear what urgent action is needed — increasing HIV testing, expanding PrEP access and ensuring everyone living with HIV gets the care they need. Because while we’ve made incredible progress, data shows it isn’t rapid enough nor being felt equally across all groups. There have been significant drops in new HIV cases among white gay and bisexual men, but not for any other group. Even among gay and bisexual men, there are worrying signs that younger queer people and queer people of colour are being left behind. 

Every day we’re missing chances to stop transmissions. Waiting times for PrEP average more than 12 weeks. You are more likely than not to be turned away from a sexual health clinic if you want an appointment and don’t have symptoms. It’s impossible to get a postal HIV and STI test in some parts of the country. 14,000 diagnosed people are not taking their medication.

We could be the first country in the world to end new HIV cases. And it would be the first time in history that we’ve stopped the onward transmission of any virus without a vaccine or a cure. This election, we need your help to make sure our call is heard.