Pride vs Politics

As someone who owns a ‘Thou shalt never fuck a Tory’ t-shirt, I guess it’s fair to say that I’ve always been political. There are two nights a year (election permitting) where I’ll stay up to the early hours, and that’s election night, and the Eurovision Grand Final. Both often ending with the United Kingdom appearing shocked at a result that we always fear is inevitable. Often through social media and our queer media outlets, we can feel that we have a grasp on what’s going on in Westminster. Articles and thinkpieces analyse the inner goings on in those hallowed walls steeped in history. But what is actually going on behind the scenes when it comes to LGBTQ+ specific issues? It’s something I’ve always been intrigued about and, more specifically, how much weight and energy is put into these issues that we don’t know about? Do the LGBTQ+ groups within the Conservative and Labour parties actively do anything, or are they essentially a social group for the parliamentary elite to kiki and discuss whether or not Rishi Sunak is in fact ‘dishy’?

Recently, trans rights have been discussed in Parliament with a surprising vigour - especially from Labour MP Nadia Whittome. As MP for Nottingham East, she recently spoke to me about why she made such an impassioned speech on trans rights just before summer recess, and what Brexit might mean for LGBTQ+ people.

“Kicking reforms on the GRA into the long grass again and again is only serving to stoke the flames of anti-trans panic and misinformation,” she told me. “The government’s handling of this issue has been deeply irresponsible, especially at a time when hate crimes against trans individuals are on the rise.

Ministers have a responsibility to lead in a clear, dignified and evidenced-based way [when it comes to] trans rights, and this government is currently failing in its duty to provide the leadership and clarity so desperately needed.”

This is what we need from our politicians. Clarity and strength. It’s almost upsetting that I felt empowered and shocked seeing Nadia speak up for trans folks in the House of Commons. It was a moment I’ll never forget, but also a reminder that these decisions are unfortunately in ministerial

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