Tory leadership candidates accused of attacking trans rights to score points
Responding to statements from the candidates, Jane Fae, Director of TransActual and President of Trans Media Watch, said today: “If you think that to become Prime Minister you have to terrorize a minority community, you are not fit to to be a deputy. – not to mention a minister or a prime minister.
The government waived protection for trans people from conversion therapy in May, sparking a parliamentary debate on the subject.
Mike Freer, who was then equalities minister, responded to the debate on behalf of the government, attempting to justify the delay in putting in place protections for trans people.
But Cleo Madeleine, spokesperson for the transgender rights charity Gendered Intelligence, pointed out that Freer had been one of the ministers to resign following the government’s response to the Pincher scandal, and that in his letter of resignation, he had cited “the government’s atmosphere of hostility towards LGBT + people”, pointing to his approach to conversion therapy as the reason for his resignation. Earlier today he told the Women and Equality Committee that ‘elements’ of Parliament had issues with transgender people.
Darlington MP Peter Gibson joined Freer and 50 other MPs in resigning from government, where he had served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for International Trade.
He explained in his resignation letter that attending Pride “should have been a release, a pleasure[able] live. Instead, because of the damage our party has inflicted upon itself by not including trans people in the ban on conversion therapy, it was a humbling experience and pointed out to me the immense damage that has been so needlessly inflicted.
Madeleine told openDemocracy: “YouGov statistics consistently show that the majority is in favor of more reforms for the trans* community…
“There is an opportunity for step change from Boris Johnson’s successor. There is an opportunity here… to move away from attacking a marginalized community to masking a legacy of failures.
On Freer and Gibson’s resignations, she added: “We hope the next candidate will have some perspective of what Boris Johnson’s position has done for him…
“We don’t want our lives and our well-being to become a point of choice…
“Trans people over the past few months in particular have been used as political football to distract from serious issues.”
Leadership Hope Grant Shapps refused to be fired on the subjectsaying they want to “live and let live”.
Tom Tugendhat, who also runs, called trans identities a ‘debate’ while speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky, but added: ‘We need to move on because it’s really easy to make the divide where we need to. of unity.”