Leaked Audio Reveals Anti-LGBTQ+ Rant From UK Equalities Minister
Leaked audio recorded in 2018 reveals the UK’s equalities minister Kemi Badenoch making anti-LGBTQ+ comments in her parliamentary office.
Badenoch, a Conservative, was elected as minister for equalities in February 2020 and has since been responsible for policy on sexual orientation and transgender equality, as well as ‘addressing the discrimination and inequalities that LGBT people face’, according to the UK government website.
In 2018, a year after she was elected as an MP, Badenoch was recorded using the word ‘transsexual’ in relation to transgender people; a term which is often considered outdated and offensive.
According to VICE World News, which obtained the audio, Badenoch said: ‘It’s no longer about minority rights in terms of race any more or nationality. 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 minister continued:
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.
The comments regarding transgender women may now go against UK equality laws, as an employment tribunal ruling in 2019 concluded that ‘calling a trans woman a man is likely to be profoundly distressing’ and ‘may be unlawful harassment’.
As well as discussing transgender people, Badenoch reportedly also appeared to mock gay marriage and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which had been spearheaded by previous equalities ministers.
A UK government spokesperson responded to the leaked audio in a statement, saying:
The Minister for Equalities is working hard to deliver for LGBT people, whether that is modernising the process of applying for a gender recognition certificate, driving forward LGBT rights in the workplace or banning conversion therapy.
This 2018 comment has been taken out of context, with the Minister making a clear point about striking the balance for equality and fairness when there are multiple and often competing demands between different groups. It should not be used to misrepresent her views.
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, told VICE Badenoch’s comments were ‘disgusting’, arguing: ‘Everyone should be able to be themselves and be celebrated, supported and loved for who they are. The Equalities Minister should not be in her post if she does not believe that.’
In a cabinet reshuffle this week, Badenoch was made a minister of state at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, as well as keeping her equalities brief, through which she is currently tasked with putting together the UK’s first global LGBTQ+ conference to celebrate ‘kindest, tolerance and openness’.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers