Labour MP raises treatment of trans women called ‘sir’ by Parliament security

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Labour MP Kerry McCarthy has spoken out in Parliament, after transgender women were referred to as ‘sir’ by security staff during a Parliamentary LGBT Month reception.

The incident took place at Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt’s parliamentary reception for LGBT History Month event on February 4.

Anwen Muston and Sophia Botha, both officers for LGBT Labour, allege they were called “sir” by security employed by the Metropolitan Police at the Cromwell Green entrance to Parliament.

Ms McCarthy, the MP for Bristol East, raised the issue in the Commons yesterday with Lib Dem minister John Thurso, who answers on behalf of the Westminster authorities.

She asked: “What training and advice is provided to House staff on how to deal with transgender people visiting the parliamentary estate?

“On 4 February, there was an LGBT History Month event here.

“I had complaints made to me by two people who attended the event that security guards at the Cromwell Green entrance had repeatedly addressed them as ‘sir’, even though they had made it quite clear that they did not wish to be addressed in that way.

“The Met is looking at this – I think the House of Commons Commission has referred it to the Met – but will the right hon. Gentleman make sure that they do not have to suffer such treatment in future?

Mr Thurso responded: “I am grateful to the hon. Lady for bringing that case to our attention. Indeed, as I believe she knows, this has been referred to the Metropolitan Police Service, whose staff these were.

“It is taking this extremely seriously and we have made it clear to the Met how seriously we take it.

“As far as our own staff are concerned, diversity and inclusion is a key part of the core induction and training for all visitor assistants and all staff generally.

“We take these matters very seriously and we are determined to make sure that this is not repeated.”

He added: “All House staff dealing with the public are expected to undertake mandatory diversity and inclusion training, and the same standards are expected from all service providers, including the Metropolitan Police Service.”