Equality minister Lynne Featherstone said the Uk government is "proud" to fight inequality for transgender people

Murders motivated by hostility to transgender people will result in longer sentences according to a new Home Office action plan.

An amendment is to be added to the Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill to double the minimum sentence term from 15 to 30 years for anti-transgender murder.

The change forms part of the first ever government action plan to advance gender equality, launched on Thursday.

Sentencing in transgender cases will be brought in line with those concerning sexual orientation, race or religion. The strategy will also focus on health service and privacy reforms related to transgender people.

"Today the government is very proud," said Equality minister Lynne Featherstone.

"This is a plan that has been developed with a trans community who face a whole raft of issues around health and employment and hate crime that most people know nothing about.

"It's not just for the government to do. It's going to take everyone, trans and not trans, from every walk of life, to deal with the level of ignorance about the trans community and all of their needs.

"This is a major step forward and I hope the trans community will be very pleased with the government."

Speaking on a Youtube launch video, transgender Harri Cole Weeks praised the strategy.

"It's important that the government is taking action on transgender equality because transgender people are still being bullied, are still being harassed are still being discriminated against both directly and indirectly and are still being killed and dying as a result of inequality," he said.

"We are not asking for special or extra rights. We are not looking for anything additional for anyone else. All we are asking for is the assistance and guidance for those people trying to support us to be able to allow us to have the same rights and responsibilities and privileges as everyone else," he added.

The 30-year minimum will also apply for murders motivated by hatred towards a disabled person.

"Hate crimes are abhorrent, they leave sections of society living in fear and at risk of unprovoked violence," said Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.

"These proposals make clear offenders should be in no doubt that they face a more severe sentence for these unacceptable crimes."