Dawn Butler accuses ‘homophobe’ Boris Johnson of deliberately stoking ‘toxic debate’ around trans rights

Dawn Butler speaking at the LGBT+ Labour leadership hustings, presented by PinkNews and supported by Diva. (PinkNews)

Dawn Butler criticised the Tories for sidelining reforms to the Gender Recognition Act and Angela Rayner labelled Boris Johnson a “disgusting homophobe” during the LGBT+ Labour leadership hustings, presented by PinkNews and supported by Diva.

Butler, the shadow equalities secretary, accused the government of “deliberately” encouraging “toxic debate” around reforms of the Gender Recognition Act.

“The Tories are doing this to attack a section of the community and we cannot allow this to happen.”

“It is a deliberate attempt to divide us.”

She pointed to the fact that consultations on GRA reform began two years ago

“Every time I question them in parliament they make an excuse, and it’s not f**king good enough.”

Angela Rayner attacked Boris Johnson’s record of using homophobic and derogatory language and vowed to stand up to him as deputy leader.

He’s a disgusting, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, horrible individual.

“He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.”

Ian Murray added: “He cannot start a sentence and end a sentence without a lie in the middle.”

Butler agreed that “we have a racist and a homophobe in number 10”.

Referring to Johnson’s lead adviser Dominic Cummings, she added: “You know people by the company they keep.

“It’s a deliberate attempt to roll back the hard-won rights [of LGBT+ people].

We have to stand up to it together. We have to understand the intersectionality of injustice.

Rayner also called out Tony Blair, after the former prime minister warned Labour’s next leaders not to get into a “culture war” over trans rights.

“You don’t ‘choose your battles.’

“Trans women have not chosen to be in the middle of a battler and it’s not just about a political football. It’s people’s lives.”

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan questioned why, under the current system, it takes so long for trans people to be able to obtain a gender recognition certificate.

She spoke of her personal experiences as an A&E doctor as an example of the harm the system is doing, saying that she has met “so many trans parents who have tried to take their own lives because they don’t feel welcome in their communities, they don’t feel welcomed.”

All five candidates spoke of the need for greater representation in parliament.

“We have always ensured that underrepresented groups are represented in parliament, but we haven’t had a trans MP elected and we should have a trans MP elected,” said Butler.

Richard Burgon added: “By LGBT+ we don’t just mean white male gay MPs,”

Rayner insisted that “our all-women shortlists have to remain open to trans women as well.”

Referring to the Board of Deputies’ list of 10 pledges to end anti-semitism, Rayner added: “I don’t think there was anything contradictory to women’s rights or LGBT+ rights.”