Will Young blasts Tories for creating ‘fear’ around trans people: ‘Huge amount of misrepresentation’
Will Young has called out the Conservative government for stoking “fear” around the trans community, saying there’s a “huge amount of misrepresentation” of trans people.
Young appeared on Channel 4 to discuss the findings of the groundbreaking 2021 census, which for the first time included statistics on the UK public’s sexual orientation and gender identity.
According to the census, around 1.5 million people (3.2 per cent) said they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or another sexual orientation besides heterosexual. Meanwhile, there are at least 262,000 trans people in England and Wales, roughly 0.5 per cent of the population.
The Pop Idol contestant explained there is a “huge amount of misrepresentation of trans people” and, as a result, it’s “very difficult for trans people to tell their stories”.
“I think that you probably can see, going back to the gay rights struggles and particularly with AIDS and HIV, I think there’s a weird disparity,” he told Channel 4. “I feel like it’s very difficult for trans people to tell their stories.”
He continued: “Even, for example, I’ve been looking at doing, very much with transgender people – because I am a white, middle class gay man – a documentary on what is it like to be transgender? Who can tell the stories?
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“And very few broadcasters want to touch it. I think that’s very interesting to me.”
The singer said the debate on the lives of trans people has been particularly “politicised” by Conservatives pushing anti-trans rhetoric.
“I think transgender people think the issue has been so politicised by the Conservatives, and we see it when a minority group is picked up and people try to attack them and people then become afraid of them,” Young said. “It really worries me.”
Will Young noted the Tory government’s LGBT Conference was a “complete disaster” after over 120 leading LGBTQ+ and HIV groups dropped out of the event in April 2022.
The event was eventually cancelled after the organisations mass protested the government’s proposed conversion therapy ban, which excludes protections for trans people.
Broadcaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy pushed back at the singer and asked if it was fair to say trans rights were politicised “just by the Conservatives”.
“No, it’s not fair, I agree with you. I think you see it with Labour as well, Lib Dems… I suppose I’m using the Conservatives because they’re in government,” Young said. “But what it does, it creates fear.”
He added: “Yes, there is some unity with gay people and the struggle that they had, and a huge amount of empathy, and I’m constantly educating myself.”
Will Young added how he hopes the census results can have a positive impact. He hoped more people could feel “more encouraged to be themselves and throw off the shackles of a life that perhaps you felt you should lead”.
The Conservative government has increasingly put a target on trans rights in the UK.
According to reports, prime minister Rishi Sunak has planned to remove legal protections for trans people from the Equality Act 2010.
The UK government is also considering blocking Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill from becoming law, which would be an unprecedented intervention. The legislation, which was approved by Holyrood on 22 December, would make it easier for trans people to gain legal recognition of their gender.
Sunak thought it was “completely reasonable” for the UK government to consider blocking the bill from gaining Royal Assent.
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