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It's been a "Terrifying" Conservative leadership race for LGBTQIA+ people - and it's not over yet

It's been a "Terrifying" Conservative leadership race for LGBTQIA+ people - and it's not over yet

Jamie Wareham
Jamie Wareham
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TL;DR: The Conservative leadership contest has felt like a competition of who can say the worst thing about transgender people. As it enters its second week, it’s clear that transphobia will remain rooted in the party’s ethos for the forseeable. A break from Boris Johnson’s leadership, however, could offer silver linings where Conversion Therapy and the Online Safety Bill are concerned.

No less than a few hours after we suggested Penny Mordant could provide a hopeful candidate for trans rights with her history on them - she distanced herself from previous views on trans people's rights.

Following that has been a week that, in the words of QueerAF reader Cheasly, has been "terrifying". LGBTQIA+ rights have been trashed – largely to grab a few votes from several “anti-woke” candidates who didn’t make the last five.

Stonewall has called these soundbites "a convenient smokescreen that distracts from the urgent issues that affect us all."

Russel T Davies said while accepting an award for It's A Sin this week said the government are acting like a rabid “wounded dog” that “bites everyone,” reminding the audience that “the things the tories say they’ll do, they do.”  - HuffPost

So what have they said?

The UK's first non-binary Mayor, Owen Hucrum, has been tracking the Conservatives’ "ridiculous stunts, views and statements" that have seen them "making transphobia major parts of their campaigns."

They've put together an extensive Twitter thread if you want to dive deep. Here is a summary of it all from Hurcum for QueerAF:

"Having looked into what every candidate who put their name forward has said about trans people, it's clear there is a massive transphobia problem in the Tory party (if that wasn't clear already). They should be focusing on how to fix the ills we face as a country, such as the cost of living, Brexit, NI Protocol, Covid, Education, homelessness, tackling anti-GRT hate, racism, sexism, and more. But they don't have any visions to address any of that. Instead, they’re attacking us for cheap media coverage and [the papers] are more than happy to soak up all that hate up and print it as their headlines."

Has anyone set out what they will do?

The LGBT+ Conservatives group asked every Tory leadership candidate to submit answers to these three questions:

  • What are your main priorities for the LGBT+ community?
  • How will you tackle the rising problem of transphobia within the Conservative Party?
  • Why should LGBT Conservative members get your vote?

So far, not a single candidate has submitted their answers. But Tom Tugendhat is said to be working on a video answering the questions.  - The Sun

What next?

After both TV debates this weekend, the third round of voting next week, only then will members will vote over the summer. But this break from Boris could present some good news for LGBTQIA+ people.

Firstly, the former equalities minister Mike Freer told PinkNews that "the [frontrunners] support a fully [trans-] inclusive ban on conversion practices."

Elsewhere, the Online Safety Bill has been kicked into the long grass and could be dropped. If it is re-tabled by a new PM in its current state, it could take away queer safe havens protected by anonymity and regulate tweets more than Daily Mail headlines. - Politics Home

A new PM and cabinet is also an opportunity to reset the dial on transgender "culture wars."  They could focus on the issues that people at home are actually interested in.

But the question is, will the media allow them to? Rage clicks are serving them and their advertisers very well.

Jamie Wareham, he/him, gay queer disabled - A note from me:

Some of the media is helping those with anti-LGBTQIA+ views double down on forcing  'trans wedge issues' into prominence.

Without LGBTQIA+ voices in newsrooms, we'll never be able to change the narrative and make this country a place where our rights aren't in question again and again.

Our platform is filling the room with the story that needs to be told. But by becoming a member of QueerAF, you fund a future where LGBTQIA+ journalists are hired, supported and understood.

All so they can work in the media to change it.

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