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  • Caitlin Hart

UK Politics: Transphobia within the Tories

© Nick Kane - Unsplash

The UK government’s Conservative leadership race is filled with transphobic candidates.

In the past few weeks the British government has collapsed. 52 MPs resigned within a 24 hour period, and Boris Johnson announced his resignation. As the Conservative party seeks a new leader, many question what this means for the country.

Whoever is elected leader of the Conservative party will automatically become the new Prime Minister. They do not have to hold a general election, and could remain Prime Minister until the next scheduled election in 2025, despite not being elected by the public.

Transgender rights have been a focal point of British political discourse in recent months, with debates about gender identity and rights becoming heated and dividing parties across the political spectrum. The leadership candidates have only highlighted the blatant transphobia across the Conservative party and how dangerous any potential candidate could be to trans people.

Former Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch was a runner in the leadership race and has come under fire several times for her words and actions surrounding transgender rights.

Last year an audio clip was leaked of Badenoch ranting about transgender rights: “It’s now, you know like, it’s not even about sexuality now, it’s now like the whole transgender movement, where, OK, well we’ve got gay marriage and civil partnerships, so what are transsexuals looking for?”

In addition to this, Badenoch was urged to quit her position as equalities minister after refusing to commit to a legislative ban on conversion therapy and last month rallied against gender-neutral toilets in public spaces.

Another previous candidate in the leadership race, Penny Mourdant posted a series of tweets in which she tried to distinguish trans women as separate from other women: “Some people born male and who have been through the gender recognition process are also legally female. That DOES NOT mean they are biological women, like me.”

Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, has made it to the final two in the race for Tory leadership. Whilst Truss vowed to protect the LGBTQ+ community by proposing the ban on conversion therapy, it was also her decision to exclude transgender people from this legislation.

Truss has also famously spoken out against gender self identification with concerns that it would threaten the safety of “women’s spaces”.

The examples of transphobia within the Tory party are countless and any winner of the leadership race has potential to endanger thousands of trans lives with their legislation.


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