‘Trans women are women, that is the starting point’: Equalities minister Penny Mordaunt on gender recognition consultation

Equalities minister Penny Mordaunt, who has quit the government

Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt speaks to PinkNews as the government publishes a landmark survey of the LGBT community – and launches an action plan on LGBT rights.

Mordaunt’s Action Plan reaffirms that the government will push ahead with plans for a consultation on reform to the Gender Recognition Act, despite strong opposition on the issue from media commentators and some self-identified radical feminist groups.

The plan also vows to outlaw gay ‘cure’ therapy, reform healthcare provisions for LGBT people, and strengthen the approach to hate crimes and homophobic bullying in schools.

It comes at the same time that the government publishes results from an LGBT survey, which raised worrying questions about the wellbeing of the LGBT population.

PinkNews spoke to Mordaunt on a visit to LGBT charity London Friend.

Q. You’ve published the results of the National LGBT Survey today – what were the results that were found?

A. There were some very extreme findings. Very large numbers of people have been offered or had conversion therapy, and been through an appalling time.

Some results were just, quite frankly, heartbreaking – the fact that two thirds of respondents felt that they couldn’t hold their partner’s hand in a public place, I found really distressing. It’s a sign that though we’ve come a long way, there’s so much more to do so that LGBT people can really thrive in the UK today.

Q. The survey also found that LGBT people have significantly less life happiness than the general public – what can the government do overall to address those issues?

A. This is why the survey is so critical. I think we have to look at why people are feeling that way. It’s about every aspect of their life – they’re not able to access services, and their experience of those services when they’ve accessed them has been poor.

It’s about how they feel, how safe they feel when they’re out in a public place.

We’re really looking to address those issues and ensure that [hate crime] offences are taken seriously by the police and by the legal process. There are many things that we need to do – there are 75 separate actions in the Action Plan, and every part of government is working to deliver them.

(Eleanor Riley/Getty Images)

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