Angela Rayner Tears Into Tories' Rhetoric Around LGBTQ+ Rights: 'We Cannot Go On Like This'

Labour's deputy leader said going backwards on LGBTQ+ rights is not the path for electoral success.
Angela Rayner has ripped into the Tories' stance on LGBTQ+ rights.
Angela Rayner has ripped into the Tories' stance on LGBTQ+ rights.
Andrew Aitchison via Getty Images

Angela Rayner slammed the government’s attitude towards LGBTQ+ rights last night at the PinkNews Awards.

In a clip shared on PinkNews’ social media accounts, the deputy Labour leader said that “for far too long”, progress has been “blocked by those who think the way to win over the British public is to pit different groups against each other.”

“Well, if anyone thinks that moving backwards on LGBT+ equality is the route to electoral success, they are in for a shock,” she said. ″The British people want to see LGBT+ people treated with dignity, equality and respect.”

The Tories have come under fire for their policies towards the trans community, with health secretary Steve Barclay recently announcing that he plans to ban trans women from female NHS wards.

PM Rishi Sunak also used the Conservative Party conference to say the general public were being “bullied” into thinking “people can be any sex they want to be”.

He claimed: “A man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense.”

Sunak was also caught on camera last year laughing about the concept of “women having penises”, and mocked Liberal Democrats’ leader Ed Davey for supporting trans rights.

Meanwhile, home secretary Suella Braverman claimed that some asylum seekers falsely claim they are gay to seek refuge in the UK.

Rayner, who is also the shadow levelling up, housing and communities secretary, mentioned Braverman’s divisive remarks in her speech.

Describing the cabinet minister’s words as a “dangerous rhetoric”, she said: “Such disturbing comments are reckless and I condemn them in the strongest sense.”

Rayner added: “The truth is, the last decade has been an especially challenging one for the LGBTQ+ community.

“LGBTQ+ hate crime is soaring – including violent hate crime.”

Hate crimes in England and Wales against the trans community rose by 11% in the last year, according to Home Office figures.

Rayner continued: “I am sure many of you in this room have experienced or know someone who has experienced such unacceptable discrimination based on who they choose to love.

“We cannot go on like this.”

The MP for Ashton-under-Lyne also noted that it’s been five years since Theresa May’s LGBT+ Action Plan – meant to improve LGBTQ+ lives.

Rayner claimed it has since been “abandoned” and “many of the government’s commitments have been left to gather dust”.

She also praised the LGBTQ+ community as a whole for persevering through the backlash, and paid tribute to Conservatives who campaign for LGBTQ+ rights.

If Labour win the next general election, Rayner promised to modernise laws on gender recognition and uphold the Equality Act, tackle waiting lists for specialists LGBTQ+ healthcare, and strengthen inclusive education in schools.

She said her party will appoint an international LGBTQ+ rights envoy, create a conversion therapy ban that is fully “trans-inclusive” and stop “coercive practices that targets both sexual orientation and gender identity”.

Labour has been criticised over its own LGBTQ+ stance this year, after U-turning on its 2019 plan to allow trans people to self-identify by changing the Gender Recognition Act.

That means if the party wins the next general election, trans people will still not be able to legally change gender without a medical diagnosis.

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