Mark Drakeford praised for Pride message in stark comparison to Rishi Sunak’s ‘cheap’ anti-trans jokes

Wales’ first minister, Mark Drakeford, has been praised once again for proving to be an LGBTQ+ ally with his message to Pride Cymru

Wales’ first minister, Mark Drakeford, has again been praised for his LGBTQ+ allyship with his message to Pride Cymru being highlighted in stark contrast to Rishi Sunak’s “cheap” anti-trans jokes. 

Drakeford, who has previously declared that trans women are women and stated there is no such thing as “too inclusive”, attended the 24th Pride Cymru event – its largest parade yet – at the weekend. 

Praise for Drakeford’s support for Pride follows prime minister Sunak being condemned by MPs and LGBTQ+ charities over his mocking comments about trans women which were leaked in a video shared exclusively with PinkNews.

In a message at the event, the first minister, who proudly donned a Pride tie, said: “When we said in 2021 that we wanted to make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly place in Europe, that is what we meant.”

Drakeford’s comment referred to Wales’ LGBTQ+ Action Plan which was released on 7 February and includes a pledge of making the process of obtaining a gender-recognition certificate easier for trans people.

“Our ambition is to use every lever we have available to guarantee that stigma and discrimination have no place in Wales – by strengthening human rights, by banning conversion therapy, by removing the barriers that prevent LGBTQ+ people from being able to live freely and without abuse.” 

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Drakeford went on to pay tribute to the pioneers of LGBTQ+ liberation and all those who have fought for equality in forgotten ways. 

“The struggle has been a long one and we know that it is not yet over,” he said in reference to LGBTQ+ people who still face the threat of being killed in countries around the world, and trans and non-binary people being excluded, bullied and erased “here at home”. 

‘Stands in contrast to the cheap penis jokes’

Human Rights activist Peter Tatchell told PinkNews: “The positive, supportive Pride message of Mark Drakeford and the Welsh Labour government stands in contrast to the cheap penis jokes and put downs of trans people by Rishi Sunak.

“We have a Conservative government in Westminster that is maliciously and vindictively stirring anti-LGBT+ culture wars in a bid to win bigoted votes. And now it wants to introduce a Section 28-style law against trans pupils in schools. I don’t see how any self-respecting LGBT+ person can support the Tories.”

Drakeford has also been praised on Twitter for his allyship. Quote tweets indicate how other politicians could learn from him and better support the queer community. 

References to transphobia in parliament follow a video showing Sunak mocking Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey for “trying to convince everybody that women clearly had penises”.

The PM went on to say: “You’ll all know that I’m a big fan of everybody studying maths to 18, but it turns out that we need to focus on biology.”

Among the cross-parliamentary MPs who have spoken out about Sunak’s comments, Anneliese Dodds, the shadow equalities minister, told PinkNews that “trans people should not be used as a political football”.

In May, Drakeford shut down a “deliberately divisive” question about “biological women”, declaring that trans women are women while answering a question in the Senedd, the Welsh parliament, about inclusion in sport.

He previously pledged his unwavering support for Scotland’s gender self-identifying system, adding that he would welcome a similar system in Wales.