Tory MP Nick Fletcher accused of ‘spewing hateful transphobic tropes’ during non-binary debate

Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP for Don Valley, wears a grey suit jacket, white shirt and blue striped tie during a parliament debate

Tory MP Nick Fletcher urged parents in the UK to “never give in” and affirm their child’s non-binary identity amid a parliamentary debate. 

Fletcher, who is a Conservative MP for Don Valley, was the first lawmaker to speak on Monday (23 May) as parliament debates whether to make non-binary a legally recognised gender identity in the UK. The debate comes after more than 140,000 people signed a petition to bring forward non-binary legal recognition.

Fletcher spent his time during the debate spouting anti-trans and anti-non-binary dog whistles including that someone or some organisation is “putting” the idea of non-binary gender identity in the “minds” of children. He also claimed that cisgender athletes can only “hope” for second place when “competing against a trans person”. 

At the end of an anti-trans tirade, Fletcher then addressed parents of non-binary youth in the UK, urging them to “talk” to their kids. 

“While I’m here, I want to speak to parents,” Fletcher said. “If your child comes home with these concerns, talk to them but be strong.”

He continued: “Do not ever give into them or to peer pressure of other adults.”

Fletcher then urged parents to tell their children to be “proud of who they are” – but apparently not if they’re non-binary – and to be “part of their life”. But he said parents should “push back” if their kid says they are non-binary or trans. 

“Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind,” Fletcher said. “They will thank you for it in the long run.”

Fletcher claimed that kids might one day be “unhappy” or regret their decision to affirm their identity because they will be “having to shave” when one of their hypothetical friends in the future “might have a child” or are “dressing up beautifully”.

Needless to say, people on social media spoke out against Fletcher’s vile comments during the parliamentary debate.

Owen J Hurcum, the world’s first openly non-binary mayor, condemned Fletcher for “stating transphobic myth and bigotry over and over again” as well as urging parents to “fully IGNORE their children if they come out as trans”.

Others accused Fletcher of using “awful transphobic tropes” during the parliamentary debate and using the “non-binary topic to fearmonger” about the trans community.

Research released earlier this month by the Trevor Project – a suicide prevention and crisis intervention charity for LGBTQ+ young people – found that trans and non-binary are at a heightened risk of attempting suicide than their cisgender queer peers.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of the 33,993 LGBTQ+ youth surveyed said they had “seriously considered” suicide in the past year. This rose to 53 per cent for trans and non-binary youth.

Tragically, nearly one in five (19 per cent) of trans and non-binary youth attempted suicide in the last year, compared to nine per cent of cisgender queer youth. 

The research found that LGBTQ+ youth who felt high social support from their family reported attempting suicide at less than half the rate of those who felt low or moderate social support. 

LGBTQ+ youth reported that the five most common ways they felt supported by their parents was welcoming to their LGBTQ friends or partners; being talked to “respectfully” about their identity; using the correct name and pronouns; supporting their gender expression; and educating themselves about LGBTQ+ issues. 

It’s also worth noting that Nick Fletcher has made outlandish claims in the past about what does and doesn’t influence the lives of young Brits. 

In November 2021, Fletcher said “female replacements” in popular TV shows like Doctor Who were depriving young boys of good role models. He claimed that such instances were why “we are seeing so many young men committing crime” to the confusion of other MPs attending the debate on International Men’s Day.

Later, Fletcher tweeted a statement saying his “rather nuanced point” about how there were “increasingly fewer male role models for young boys” had been “immediately misconstrued”. He claimed that the “only characters” that “many boys with no good role models in their lives” see on TV and online are “increasingly criminal”.