Anti-trans Tory MP Miriam Cates doesn’t want children ‘changing gender in school’

Miriam Cates

Miriam Cates, a Tory MP known for anti-trans rhetoric, has said that it’s a “good thing for children not to change gender at school”.

Cates gave an interview with the Telegraph on Saturday (27 May), where she was described as “desperate” for school reforms around sex education and gender guidance to be “done and dusted”. 

The MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge teamed up with Labour’s Rosie Duffield in April to oppose trans rights, arguing that women’s rights are being “wiped out by stealth” by a “small group of extremist activists” who want to “shut up” women.

In January, Cates linked trans people to predators in a House of Commons speech, where she slammed Scotland’s monumental Gender Recognition Reform bill. The bill was later blocked by the UK government in an unprecedented use of a Section 35 order. 

Cates claimed the bill would make it “vastly easier for a predator to gain access to children” and alleged it would have a “chilling effect” on single-sex spaces. She also alleged that she had had several experiences with trans people in toilets, stating that “women are far less powerful than men … we can’t defend ourselves”. 

Her speech was slammed as a “disgusting” and “dog whistle” attack on the trans community. 

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In her interview with the Telegraph, Cates described her alliance with Duffield – the Labour MP for Canterbury who previously took aim at Suzy Eddie Izzard while speaking at a conference of the trans-exclusionary LGB Alliance – as a “lovely thing”.

“It’s a lovely thing to be able to make alliances,” Cates said “It’s an issue that ought to transcend party politics, an issue of safety that affects every woman and potentially every child.” 

The Tory MP then went on to praise Duffield as “incredibly brave”. 

Cates then suggested that Labour leader Keir Starmer is at the mercy of “a very powerful group within his party who are utterly in thrall to the trans lobby”. She said: “It does really worry me what will happen if Labour get into power.”

This comes despite Starmer being roundly criticised for his disappointing comments on trans rights and for “throwing trans people under the bus” in an April interview with the Sunday Times, where he appeared to support calls for schools to ‘out’ trans pupils to their parents. 

Referring to the new Tory guidance for schools, which will reportedly see teachers forced to ‘out’ trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming pupils to their parents, and ban trans children from using changing and shower facilities that align with gender identity, Cates said she wants reforms to be “done and dusted” before 2024.

The evangelical Christian MP then went on to praise how right-wing MPs have launched a growing pushback against inclusive sex education and schools being a safe place for trans and non-binary pupils to be their authentic selves.

“I think we’ve moved the public debate on so the vast majority can see it’s a good thing for parents to know what their children are being taught, it’s a good thing for children not to change gender at school, then it’ll be much harder for any incoming government to row back on that,” she said. 

Cates also claimed that her Chrisitan faith is a motivating force for her politics, saying: “It’s more important to do the right thing than the expedient thing. If you have belief in a power that’s higher than you, you are motivated to do what you think is right rather than what is advantageous at the time. 

“And it makes it easier to cope with the flak that inevitably comes.”

The upcoming Department of Education guidance for schools, reportedly being worked on by education secretary Gillian Keegan and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, has been described by horrified teachers as “safeguarding Tory interests”, not safeguarding children.