India Willoughby Hits Out At 'Toxic And Awful' Trans Debate In Emotional Question Time Speech

The Loose Women panellist and the UK's first trans newsreader weighed in on the row around prisoners.
India Willoughby on BBC Question Time
India Willoughby on BBC Question Time
BBC Question Time

India Willoughby criticised the “toxic” debate around transgender people during an emotional moment on BBC Question Time on Thursday.

The Loose Women panellist – who is also the UK’s first transgender newsreader – was weighing in on the discussion around Scottish legislation which would let trans people identify and obtain a certificate to confirm their preferred gender. Although this law passed in Holyrood, Rishi Sunak’s government has since blocked it.

This has also added to ongoing speculation over the safe-guarding measures surrounding women-only spaces and whether they need to be reviewed.

Speaking during this week’s episode in Glasgow, Willoughby said: “This has been a debate now that has raged for a minimum of three, four years.

“It’s been incredibly toxic and awful as a trans person,” she noted. “To be sat at home and see people who aren’t actually trans discuss your life and paint you as a whole, en masse, as dangerous to society and unwanted, is just horrible.”

She then touched on the latest trans issue to make headlines – the concerns over where to put a convicted rapist called Isla Bryson.

She identified as a man when committing the crimes, but was then sent to Cornton Vale women’s prison after identifying as a woman.

Bryson has now been moved to a male prison estate after a backlash.

Willoughby continued by saying there are “bad apples in all walks of life”, including within the trans community.

″All of those people if they do something criminal and are found guilty, they deserve to go to jail and are punished. A jail that is suitable for them and where everyone else is safe.

“What you’ve been subjected to, over the last couple of weeks, which I’m afraid is now par for the course, is a lot of misinformation by a media that is completely transphobic.

’We have an audited trail of 1,000+ negative stories a month on 0.5% of the population.

“It’s not even 0.5% – if you half that, because it’s only trans women that people are getting upset about, that’s 1,000 articles a month on just 0.2% of people.”

She added that the trans prisoners who were briefly living in women-only prisons were actually in solitary confinement during their time there.

Willoughby added: “This 2004 in Scotland the rule has been that anyone who is trans and who wants a transfer into women’s estate, can apply. That’s a human right, they’re entitled to apply.”

She said a panel will then discuss it – and there is “categorically no way someone who has committed rape would be moved into the women’s estate”.

She also tweeted about the episode after it aired, referring to the backlash towards the trans community as a whole.

She noted: “It was like being in an episode of Life On Mars. But it’s backfired looking at the reaction from those watching at home. Just so sad this happens in 2023.”

In a separate tweet, she said it felt like it was a “1970s audience bar a few exceptions” and that she “did my best”.

Willoughby added: “That said - we go on! Trans people have nothing to be ashamed of or be embarrassed about. It’s just deeply sad how the gov and media have generated this Frankenstein mob mentality.”

And she had plenty of supporters on Twitter, too:

Help and support:

  • The Gender Trust supports anyone affected by gender identity | 01527 894 838
  • Mermaids offers information, support, friendship and shared experiences for young people with gender identity issues | 0208 1234819
  • LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for LGBT people in Scotland. Text 07786 202 370
  • Gires provides information for trans people, their families and professionals who care for them | 01372 801554
  • Depend provides support, advice and information for anyone who knows, or is related to, a transsexual person in the UK

What's Hot