UK MP Dominic Raab has come under fire after saying he would not make it easier for trans people to change their gender last night (29 May).
While Raab said he wants a society that is ‘warm to the LGBT community,’ he was cold towards trans people.
Moreover, he said he is ‘probably not’ a feminist, but did say is a ‘champion’ of equality.
What did he say?
ITV News’ political correspondent Paul Brand spoke to Raab in light of his intention to run as a successor to Prime Minister Theresa May.
When Brand asked if Raab had any intention to make it ‘easier’ for trans people to have access to gender-affirmation surgeries – which in the UK have a notoriously long and stiff wait-list – he was wary.
‘I certainly don’t think I want to make it easier,’ he said, ‘I think you need to be very careful with young people that age.
Dominic Raab says he wants a society that is ‘warm to the LGBT community’ but doesn’t think he would make it easier for people to change their gender, if he became prime minister https://t.co/97wVNes3IQ pic.twitter.com/T4tqsCNjcs
— ITV News (@itvnews) May 29, 2019
‘I want everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin but I do worry a little bit with some of this debate. Whether it’s in relation to vulnerable women in prisons or children in schools that we take a careful, balanced approach.
‘We need to be a society that which is small-L liberal, tolerant, and open and warm to the LGBTI community. But I also worry about the vulnerabilities of other people, whether it’s women in prisons or children at a very tender age in school.
‘So, we need to get the balance right.’
‘Probably not’ a feminist’
Raab also clarified the he would ‘probably not’ describe himself as a feminist.
He stood by his controversial claims that some feminists are ‘obnoxious bigots.’
Adding: ‘The point I was making is that sexism is wrong. And if it’s said about a woman or about a man.
‘I think equality is too precious a value for us to put up with double standards. I do think we should call hypocrisy out in political debate and political life.’
Though not a self-declared feminist, Raab said: ‘I would describe myself as someone who’s a champion of equality and meritocracy.’
‘Transgender kids are some of the most vulnerable in society’
Mermaids, a UK charity that offers vital support and services to trans young people, voiced their worries over Raab’s words to Gay Star News.
A Mermaids spokesperon said: ‘We are concerned that Dominic Raab MP is stating that transgender and LGBT+ children require “warmth” whilst simultaneously seeming to imply that they might pose a threat to their friends and classmates.
‘His intentions may be sincere but his words will have sent a chill down the spines of many parents.
‘Mr Raab is right to worry for vulnerable children. But transgender kids are some of the most vulnerable in society.
‘We need brave politicians to step beyond their own ideologies and instant emotional responses and listen to the children and parents who are simply trying to cope with homework, GCSEs and SATs, lost PE kits and everyday playground spats.
‘Without being misunderstood by politicians who don’t yet understand the reality of their daily lives.
‘We would love Mr Raab to meet some of our families, young people and children so he can be certain his current position on these vital issues is the right one.’
Dominic Raab’s LGBTI track record
The Conservative MP for Esher and Walton has had two consistences in his history as a lawmaker; his advocacy for the sharp severing of the UK from the European Union, and voting in favor of pro-LGB laws.
In 2013, he voted in favor of marriage equality. Then in 2014, he voted to enable UK courts the power to deal with divorces and annulments.
Though, on the Brexit front, he has often spoken out against the Human Rights Act. Furthermore, he previously called for Britain to use negations with the bloc to scrap worker’s rights.
As one of the 11 declared candidates to replace May as not only Tory leader but prime minister, for Briton’s queer voters, his views on human rights will surely be under the microscope.