UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: “A man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense!” (Photo: Lauren Hurley / No10 Downing Street)
The UK government is hardening its stance against the LGBTIQ+ community, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak now publicly dismissing transgender identities.
In a desperate effort to woo voters, the Conservative Party under Sunak is shamelessly stoking right-wing anti-LGBTIQ+ sentiment and fear-mongering with divisive rhetoric.
“It shouldn’t be controversial for parents to know what their children are being taught in school about relationships. Patients should know when hospitals are talking about men or women,” Sunak said at the Conservative Party Conference on Wednesday.
“And we shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can’t. A man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense!” he asserted to loud cheers from the crowd.
LGBTIQ+ people being made scapegoats
The shocking comments follow recent controversial remarks by the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman about LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers.
“Where individuals are being persecuted, it is right that we offer sanctuary,” she said. “But we will not be able to sustain an asylum system if in effect simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin is sufficient to qualify for protection.”
Braverman further claimed that there are “many instances where people purport to be gay when they’re not actually gay, but in order to get special treatment.”
This is despite government statistics showing that only 2% of all asylum claims made in the UK in 2022 included sexual orientation as a reason for seeking protection.
Sunak’s government is also set to bar transgender women from being treated in female hospital wards in England. Braverman was quoted as stating that, “Trans women have no place in women’s wards or indeed any safe space relating to biological women.”
Rhetoric fueling rise in hate crimes
These developments occur against the backdrop of alarming statistics indicating an 11% increase in hate crimes against transgender people in England and Wales within a year, and a staggering 186% increase over the last five years.
Robbie de Santos, Director of External Affairs at LGBTIQ+ group Stonewall, said that political leaders “are filling the public domain with toxic language that dehumanises LGBTQ+ people and legitimises violence.”
Stonewall called on politicians to step back from divisive “culture wars” that undermine the safety and dignity of all citizens.
The organisation emphasised that while Britain once prided itself on being a tolerant and inclusive nation, a lack of positive action and threats to existing rights are diverting the country from that path.