Some of the stories this week have related to the LGBTQ+ community both within and outside the
party, and it’s opened - again, this is all in my opinion - some difficult conversations that really need
to be had. But, of course, they have not been without anger, frustration and plenty of
misunderstanding. Quite frankly, it’s all been quite exhausting for me to follow.
Following a bit of a chaotic day on Tuesday (October 3) where a man, later identified as LGBT+
Tory member Andrew Boff, was escorted out of the conference for heckling Home Secretary
Suella Braverman and accusing her of homophobia and transphobia after she spoke about
“gender ideology and white privilege”.
During the speech, Mrs Braverman also took aim at migrants, the “luxury beliefs” of liberal-leaning
people, and even claimed the Human Rights Act should be renamed the “Criminal Rights Act”.
Natasha Tsangarides, associate director at the charity Freedom from Torture, said following
the speech that she felt the Home Secretary had ‘revealed herself to be grossly out of touch’
and was using ‘marginalised groups as cannon fodder to win cheap political points’.
The Health Secretary also outlined an intention by the government to ban trans women from
accessing female hospital wards. LGBT Foundation later said it would have "detrimental effects on
the health and well-being of trans and non-binary individuals who already face barriers in
accessing essential healthcare services".
The charity added: "This decision will further discourage, or in some cases stop, trans and
non-binary people from seeking care or openly discussing their gender identity and healthcare
needs, ultimately leading to long-term health issues and an increased financial burden on the NHS.
“Inclusive language has played a crucial role in dismantling barriers within the UK healthcare
system in recent years, fostering an environment where trans and non-binary individuals feel more
comfortable coming forward and discussing their healthcare needs.
“We urge the government to reconsider this decision and redirect their focus towards providing
support and resources to the NHS to maintain its world-class, patient-centric, and freely
accessible healthcare services for all.
Further on, the Prime Minister said to a round of applause during his speech on Thursday
(October 4): ”We shouldn't get bullied into believing that "people can be any sex they want to be.
They can't. A man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that's just common sense.”
Journalist India Willoughby posted on X in response to the speech: “Outrageous hate which is
going to encourage bullying and physical attacks by thugs, utterly vile.” Actor David McCulloch
added: "Literally NO ONE is "bullying" you into believing what sex they want to be. Stop this
dangerous, damaging and transphobic rhetoric."
Again, like I said, it personally all feels very exhausting and frustrating, and it can be quite easy to
not understand where we can go from here. But the influx of positive messages under
#TransRightsAreHumanRights are a good starting point.
Matt J posted: “With every speech / interview / report I see from Manchester this week, it’s
just reminding me that we need to continue to show respect, compassion, and love to all those
who need it. Keep kindness.”
Another said: “I can’t imagine the pain, fear, and anger felt by the trans community watching the
prime minister’s horrible little speech today. We as allies to the trans community need to raise our
voices and create/maintain the safe spaces for our siblings. “
Another wrote: “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are people.
Gender, sex and biology isn’t binary. Trans people aren’t a danger to cis people.”
Complacency is something I hear a lot about as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. We are
often warned that if we get too comfortable, the rights that those before us fought so diligently for
could be taken away from us within a second’s glance. And isn’t that essentially what is happening
right in front of us?
I guess I’ll leave you this week with this extract from Lucy Morgan's GLAMOUR article
(which is well worth a read in full) about how the Tories tend to blame violence against women on
transgender people when it is 'overwhelmingly committed by cisgender men'.
In the piece, she concludes: “Most cisgender women – like myself – are not remotely bothered by
the thought of sharing healthcare spaces with transgender people. As Jess Hacker previously wrote
for GLAMOUR, “Trans people are doubted and maligned, just as cis women have always been.
” We have far more to gain by recognising our shared struggles than allowing the likes of
Suella Braverman to stoke division between us.”
It's been a tough week. But we're made of stern stuff.
LGBTQ+ Bulletin, 5 October, 2023