Tories’ anti-LGBTQ+ ‘culture war’ tactics are ‘disgusting’, says Lib Dem MP Layla Moran

Layla Moran speaks at the PinkNews Westminster Summer Reception

Layla Moran, the pansexual Liberal Democrat MP, has said LGBTQ+ rights Britain are going “backwards” – and the government are to blame.

Speaking at the PinkNews Westminster Summer Reception on Wednesday evening (13 July), Moran laced into Boris Johnson’s administration for excluding trans people from its conversion therapy ban and for scrapping reforms to gender recognition law.

She said: “Unfortunately, at the moment, it does feel like it’s going backwards. That LGBTQ+ rights are being weaponized and will somehow be used as some kind of wedge issue.

“Well, the only thing that I want to wedge is those people’s underwear up their bums. Honestly, they have no right to use someone’s identity sexuality and who they are to gain votes. That is just wrong. It’s disgusting.”

She said it was “pathetic” that shoddy signs reading “Man” and “Ladies” were taped to the gender-neutral toilets at the launch event of Tory leader hopeful Kemi Badenoch’s launch party.

PinkNews understands the former equalities minister and her team arrived at the venue in Westminster to find the signs there.

Moran said: “What a pathetic waste of time, actually, she would have been much better off focusing on the stuff that people care about, which is the cost of living crisis. Rather than using that as a way to beat votes in her direction.

“In the last few years, we’ve seen a rolling back of just basic rights, but particularly of trans people.”

“It was such a backward step to rollback from including the T in conversion therapy,” she said, adding: “It was entirely wrong taking it off the table.”

Moran also called on lawmakers to fully reform the Gender Recognition Act – the government ditched the pledge to streamline the process and instead simply digitised it and cut the price of legally changing a person’s gender.

Layla Moran said a crucial thing missing from the ‘debate’ over trans rights are the voices of trans folk themselves. (Alistair Veryard)

It doesn’t look like the anti-trans culture wars that have increasingly defined Johnson’s governments are going away anytime soon.

Many of the Tory leader candidates have hit out against trans people, with Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman among those who have vowed to stamp out “woke” attitudes or made potshots against trans rights.

Moran stressed that while the rights of trans people are made into a “debate” the community’s own voices are crucially missing, and that needs to change.

She said: “What I’ve tried to do whenever I’ve stood up and given speeches on this is to give over my voice to someone with lived experience because frankly, it is their voices that are missing from this debate at every turn.”

Moran said one of her constituents in the Oxford West and Abingdon area is among those trans voices that she hopes to spotlight as a politician. The person runs a youth group for LGBTQ+ teenagers.

“She said their main concerns are actually mental health, access to gender identity services but she also lost one of her young people to suicide,” Moran explained.

“She said we need to understand that transitioning is not just about changing your name on a bank statement.

“The government needs to listen to the trans community and reform services to make sure we don’t lose any more of our young people.”

Elsewhere in her speech, Moran reflected on her own personal journey to coming out as pansexual.

“I’m proud to be pan. I’m proud to be pan in parliament – apparently, I’m the first one but I didn’t know that when I came out,” she said.

“Then I went public because the fact is, I wasn’t ready to come out when I did. The reason why I did was because I got a call from the Mail on Sunday, to say that they were going to do it for me. I begged for an extra week. Because I haven’t yet told my grandmother who read the Mail on Sunday.

That’s why Moran made the decision to publicly come out on her own terms in a 2020 interview with PinkNews – and she’s never looked back.

The PinkNews Westminster Summer Reception was sponsored by Gilead Sciences and Micro Rainbow as a charity partner.