prime minister

This September, Liz Truss was elected by Conservative Party members as the UK’s new Prime Minister, following Boris Johnson’s resignation earlier this year.

Truss won out ahead of Rishi Sunak in the race to lead the country, securing 57.4% of the vote. What does Truss in Number Ten mean for LGBTQ+ people, and the trans community in particular?

With the country facing a number of problems, such as double-digit inflation and barely affordable energy bills, there is wide concern about Truss’ ability to manage a range of crises. Trans people in the UK have meanwhile faced discrimination and disenfranchisement from a government of which the Prime Minister has long been part. Whether that is due to inaccessible healthcare and long waiting lists, to the deliberate exclusion of trans people from the Government’s recent conversion therapy ban, there is good reason for the community to experience a new wave of anxiety from the UK’s latest leader.

During the TalkTV Tory Leadership Hustings, Truss was asked point black whether she believes that trans women are women to which she responded ‘no’. After an audience member enquired about how she plans to balance trans issues and ‘single-sex spaces’, she said that she has done a lot for trans people, improving the ‘process for gender recognition, making it simpler’. Truss, however, simultaneously stated that young trans people under the age of 18 should not be making ‘irreversible decisions about their own future’.

This answer is influenced by the myth that the NHS offers irreversible surgeries to trans children. One of the only available medical services the healthcare system offers to young trans people is puberty blockers, which are reversible. Further, engaging with this public provision has been made needlessly slow, complicated, and distressing.

Additionally, the Prime Minister continued that places such as clothing stores, domestic violence shelters, and schools should ‘absolutely have the ability to restrict access on the basis of biological sex’, further reiterating a malignant and delusional narrative that trans people are using certain spaces for malicious reasons, rather than to live as themselves.

Truss’ statements on trans people keep contradicting each other. Simply adjusting the process to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate is not enough. It is part of the job of this new Prime Minister to ensure that trans people are treated with the same respect and given the same basic human rights as cis people.

The new Prime Minister has also mentioned that she will increase the number of police officers and make sure that they will dedicate their time to important crimes such as violence against women and young girls. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. The problem is that the Prime Minister then excludes trans women from this definition, despite the fact that trans women are the victims of an epidemic of violence. Her desire to deny the existence of trans women is not only ignorant but invites further danger to them, a reckless and deeply immoral position for a national leader. Trans and cis women and young girls deserve and need to live in a society in which they are safe.

Runner-up Rishi Sunak, who served in the Johnson cabinet as Chancellor of the Exchequer, also declared a view that trans women are not women. Even the interviewer who led the conversation with the potential Prime Ministers, Julia Hartley-Brewer, has made anti-trans statements. Last International Women’s Day, she tweeted that ‘trans women are biological men, they’re not women’.

With more TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) gaining a platform in the UK, it is all the more important for leaders of the country to distance themselves from false and harmful narratives that cause harm to the community. However, with the new Prime Minister’s refusal to acknowledge the existence and rights of trans people, the safety and wellbeing of the community is under threat.

While GenderGP is an international provider of care, many of our patients are based in the UK. We would like to remind everyone using our services that we will continue to provide the care you need and that your identity and selfhood will never be invalidated by our team.

Meanwhile, we will push and support others to push, for the UK Government to correct its course and behave with the compassion and decency that should be expected of it.