LBC presenter blasts right-wing media for ‘recycled homophobia’ over cat identity claims

LBC presenter Natasha Devon

LBC presenter Natasha Devon has condemned right-wing media for “recycled homophobia” over its coverage of an alleged gender identity dispute at a school in east Sussex.

It was claimed that a dispute between a student and teacher at Rye College arose when a 13-year-old allegedly rejected a classmate’s request to be identified as a cat.

An article published by The Telegraph interviewed a separate anonymous teacher who reported that a student at their school “identifies as a cat”. The claim forced the Aquinas Church of England Trust, which runs Rye College, to clarify that “no children at Rye College identifies as a cat or any other animal”. 

During a segment on LBC, Devon slammed the UK’s right-wing media for its “recycled homophobia” and explained where claims of children identifying as cats originated.

“It’s the 2023 version of if a man is allowed to marry another man, he will eventually want to marry his dog,” the writer, campaigner and broadcaster said.

Following the story being picked up by news outlets, minister for women and equalities Kemi Badenoch demanded the department of education investigate the school.

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Devon questioned why Badenoch felt the story was “within her remit”, adding: “It’s interesting how quickly she jumped on this.”

‘This isn’t even an original story’

“If you’re not convinced by the school’s denial of the existence of this pupil, perhaps the fact that this isn’t even an original story will convince you, because this actually started in America,” Devon continued.

“It was discovered that there were cat litter trays in American classrooms … and when I tell you the reason why they were there … you want to cry? I know I did.

“It’s in case there’s a school shooting and the children had to barricade themselves in their classrooms. It was somewhere for them to go to the toilet.”

Devon referenced the cat litter phenomenon which, as reported by Insider in 2019, was not due to children’s identities, but instead because some teachers in Colorado had asked parents to bring in buckets of cat litter to act as a toilet if children were trapped in their classrooms due to an active shooter lockdown.

‘All a way to de-legitimise trans people’

Devon went on to say: “But right-wing commentators took this run with it and said children are now identifying as cats. 

“This was all a way to de-legitimise trans people and malign the entire LGBTQ community. Same grift. Slightly different story.”

Negative and misleading media coverage has a real-world impact on the LGBTQ+ community. In 2022, hate crimes in England and Wales hit a record high, with statistics from the Home Office revealing that hate crimes rose by about 26 per cent from the previous year, while transphobic hate crimes shot up by a shocking 56 per cent.