过去一周, Conservative candidates are more likely to have been asked “what is a woman” by British journalists than to have been tripped up by more traditional questions, like the cost of a pint of milk. 在星期三, Sunak’s biggest rival in the race, the once relatively little-known junior minister Penny Mordaunt, was asked if she would continue with culture war issues like trans rights.
“Let me deal with the issue floating around in the background
. 它是 (former UK Prime Minister
) Margaret Thatcher who said that ‘every Prime Minister needs a Willie
,'” Mordaunt 说过 in reference to Thatcher’s deputy
, 威廉 “Willie
. “A woman like me doesn’t have one
Mordaunt has spent a lot of time this week rowing back on her past pro-trans views
. She told online newspaper Pink News
在 2018, 例如, 那 “trans women are women.
In a 10-part Twitter chain posted Sunday
, Mordaunt u-turned
, stressing that trans women might be legally female by law but
“that DOES NOT mean they are biological women
, like me.
” 她补充说: “I am biologically a woman
. If I have a hysterectomy or mastectomy
, I am still a woman
. And I am legally a woman.
Descriptors like “biological woman” are considered slurs by trans advocates when they are deployed by gender critical activists, who believe the sex one is assigned with at birth is immutable, and any rights or privileges associated with it cannot be extended to those who choose to identify as that gender.
The repeated misgendering of trans people in the public sphere is not only harmful to their wellbeing
, 但 suggesting gender does not exist and that a person is the sum total of their reproductive organs is reductive
, erasing the existence of trans and non-binary people
, say advocates
Yet these gender critical views
, parroted by a largely sympathetic British press
, have helped restrict efforts to broaden trans rights
, say campaigners
. This includes trans people potentially being left out of plans for a ban on conversion therapy
, and the Conservative-led government scrapping efforts to make it easy for trans people to 改变 their gender marker without medical requirements
“Not in my adult lifetime can I remember a situation where in a leadership election or selection process, there’s been this amount of focus on LGBTQ+ rights measures,” Nancy Kelley, chief executive of LGBTQ rights group Stonewall, 告诉CNN.
The British public is more tolerant than some politicians or the press care to acknowledge, 她说. “I think it’s part of a wider phenomenon that we’re experiencing in the UK where we have really progressive, positive public attitudes to lesbian, 同性恋者, bi and trans people, but we’ve got plenty of media and political conversation quite obsessively talking about trans people, and largely in a negative way,” Kelley said.
‘Disproportionate and scary’
A study by think tank More in Common
, published in June
, 发现 “few Britons spend very much of their time thinking about issues of gender identity.
” It added that in focus group conversations
, even those who are opposed to trans people using single-sex spaces
, look for common sense ways of handling issues around changing rooms and toilets that involve being aware of people and treating one another with respect.
Almost every focus group participant “asked why there were not also now more unisex toilet options available, which seemed for many to be a practical solution to the issue of single-sex spaces,” it wrote.
What is dominating public discourse is the state of the UK economy
, where inflation hit a 40-year high of
9.1% 在五月, 的 最高 among the G7 leading economies
— and is forecast to climb above
11% later this year despite a series of interest rate hikes
. The country is in the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades
, forcing households to choose between eating or heating this winter amid no real wage growth for over a decade
, say economists
“We’ve got major cost-of-living crisis, we are facing down a global climate emergency, there is war in Ukraine… (and we are) dealing with the aftermath of Brexit — the fact that the media are asking so obsessively about (反式) 问题, and candidates are all being expected to pronounce their views on trans people’s place in society is so disproportionate and scary,” for a group that only accounts for an estimated 0.6% 人口, Kelley said.
Transphobia might not be an electorally viable strategy, but that has not stopped this year’s leadership hopefuls.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss
, WHO placed third in the second round of voting
, 已经 vocal
在她的 反对 to making it easier for trans people to change their gender markers in England and Wales
. While she steered clear of culture wars issues in her leadership speech on Thursday
, her allies have been briefing against Mordaunt’s pro-trans record
Behind Truss was former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch
, a spirited culture wars proponent who warned in
2020 that teaching
“critical race theory as fact
” would be against the law
. There is no evidence however that schools have been doing that
. Vice News reported this week that Badenoch urged the country’s financial services regulator
, the Financial Conduct Authority
), 至 drop its policy on trans inclusion
Badenoch’s spokesperson did not deny the allegation, telling CNN in a statement that “In response to a FCA consultation, and in her capacity as Equalities Minister, Kemi wrote to the FCA on how they could comply with the Equality Act and improve the representation of women on city boards.”
At the conservative think tank Policy Exchange
, where Badenoch launched her 领导 campaign on Tuesday
, journalists noted handwritten signs scrawled in black ink with the words
“人” 和 “我们的目标是重建这种信任” taped to the doors of gender-neutral toilets