Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities Dawn Butler (Jack Taylor/Getty)
Labour’s equalities chief Dawn Butler has slammed the government’s handling of gender recognition reforms, branding stalling on the issue a “f**king disgrace.”
Butler, the Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, accused Theresa May’s government of giving rise to a “hostile environment” for transgender people by stalling planned reforms to gender recognition laws.
In an interview with the What the Trans!? podcast at UK Black Pride on Sunday (July 7), she explained: “It’s a f**king disgrace, how GRA (Gender Recognition Act) has been handled.
“The government thought they would be on trend, and say ‘we will reform the Gender Recognition Act,’ because that was the Labour policy.
“The Tories said, ‘OK, we will also reform the Gender Recognition Act’, but they made the announcement and got some anti-GRA people, so they started to roll back and slow down.”
Dawn Butler: Delays left a void that was filled with hate
She added: “Within that 18 months of them slowing down, they left a void, so that void was filled with hate, misconceptions, misrepresentation… all of that.
“What happened in that void of the government rolling back is that transgender people began to feel the hate and discrimination that they hadn’t felt in a long time.
“Transgender people were just living their lives, they had some problems, but they were dealing with it.”
Labour’s shadow equalities chief Dawn Butler at UK Black Pride (Dawn Butler)
Butler continued: “What this did was shine a spotlight on the transgender community that didn’t have to be there, so they started to feel all this hate, going into toilets people would say ‘your hands are pretty big for a woman’… they never had that before.
“Everyone was just living their lives and nobody gave a s**t.
“I blame the government for the hostile environment for the transgender community. I think it falls on their shoulders, and they’ve done so much damage, it’s going to take us a long time to refill that void and hate.”
Gender recognition reforms face an uncertain future
What The Trans!? co-host Ashleigh Talbot told PinkNews: “We consider Dawn Butler’s statement to be entirely in keeping with the frustration many of us feel at the current government’s lack of action on trans rights and healthcare, particularly after the tortuous media circus around the public consultation in 2018.
“Butler is quite right; it is a disgrace. ”
The government has been accused of dragging its feet over Gender Recognition Act reforms before, with Parliament’s equalities committee chair Maria Miller blaming political instability caused by Brexit for repeated delays.
Equalities minister Penny Mordaunt recently pledged to PinkNews that the government will set out its stance before Theresa May’s departure as PM in late July, but an official report published this month only committed to plans being outlined “later this year.”
There is no guarantee that the next Prime Minister, due to take office in late July, will choose to continue with the reforms.