Angela Rayner has accused the government of using the LGBTQ+ community to create social division in the UK.
At a Labour Conference fringe event for LGBTQ+ activists on 28 September, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said the government is guilty of creating a “campaign of hate” at the expense of transgender people.
“Hate crimes have been soaring, bullying, discrimination, anti-LGBT hate,” Rayner shared.
“There is a mental health crisis that is hitting our LGBT communities especially hard.
“I have to say that there is a campaign of hate coming out of this government.
“Ministers are looking at vulnerable people, they’re looking at our trans community, they are looking at people’s identities and they see it as an opportunity to divide people. That is disgusting, that is disgraceful.”
Rayner, who has been the Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne since 2015, also called for improved media reporting on trans issues.
She said: “I’m afraid to say that there is what appears to be a campaign in some parts of the media too.
“I have never seen so much inaccurate reporting. I’ve heard and seen so many panel discussions where trans people are being talked about and accusations are being made, but there isn’t anyone representing trans.
“I stand with Stonewall and what you said about the treatment of these issues in the media.”
Rayner also committed to updating the Gender Recognition Act if she were in government, as well as reminding her audience that it was Labour who abolished section 28 – a clause introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government which prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality”.
“All of us in politics, in public life and the media have an absolute duty of care to how we talk about these issues,” Rayner added.
“We are the party that is committed to achieving a world free of all forms of bigotry and discrimination.
“So we will update the Gender Recognition Act to create a process of self ID.
“We are the party that abolished section 28 and we will fight this section 28 moment again.”
Earlier in the conference, held in Brighton from 25-29 September, Rayner spoke at a separate event where she called the government “homophobic, racist [and] misogynistic”.
“I’m sick of shouting from the sidelines, and I bet you lot are too,” she said, according to the Daily Mirror.
“We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute vile… banana republic, vile, nasty, Etonian… piece of scum…and I held back a little…that I have ever seen in my life.”
LGBTQ+ Parliamentary Labour Party Co-Chair, Angela Eagle, accused Boris Johnson of appointing a Minister for Equalities who sows “misery and division”.
“They’ve appointed equality ministers whose aim is the actual opposite of equality, who seem to get their kudos from Number 10 by actually provoking as much misery and division as possible,” she said.
Eagle continued: “The tactics are the same, divide and rule. The aim is the same, weaken the forces of progressive social advance.”
Her comments come in the wake of audio being leaked to VICE World News in which Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, misgenders transgender people and questions gay marriage.
“It’s no longer about minority rights in terms of race any more or nationality,” the Minister of Equalities can be heard saying, “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?”
The term “transsexual” is widely seen as offensive and outdated, originating in the psychological and medical communities to imply that someone has undergone gender-affirming medical procedures.
Comments made by the Conservative MP were reportedly said in Badenoch’s parliamentary office in 2018 – one year before being appointed a minister by Boris Johnson.
In the audio, the Minister for Equalities goes on to complain about “men using women’s bathrooms” as she appears to misgender transgender people.
Badenoch says: “Even when, you know, so, people hear about, you know like the whole bathroom thing, it’s actually more of an American thing but they have a similar problem, that, right so now it’s not just about being free to marry who you want, you now want to have men using women’s bathrooms.”