Suella Braverman condemned for latest anti-trans attack in House of Commons

Suella Braverman in the House of Commons

Suella Braverman has been condemned for making transphobic comments in the House of Commons. 

On Monday (3 July), the home secretary took aim at Labour leader Keir Starmer with an anti-trans dig which fell flat.

Braverman’s comments were made while responding to a question from fellow Tory MP Nick Fletcher who referred to a viral tweet about Mika Minio-Pauello, a trans woman and mother who came under fire from anti-trans activists after taking part in an ITV News segment on the cost-of-living crisis.  

Rosie Duffield, the Labour MP for Canterbury, known for her so-called gender-critical views, and other anti-trans figures took offence to ITV speaking to a trans mother.

“There is a tweet going around regarding a man who identifies as a trans woman,” Fletcher began his question. “The tweet reads that the trans-identified man who appeared in an ITV News report about ‘mothers’ has posted an image ‘breastfeeding’ a baby. Do you think it’s OK to mock women like this?’ 

“I think that is a valid question, but I am also extremely concerned for the welfare of the child. Will the home secretary… look into that for me, please?”

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In response, Braverman avoided addressing Fletcher’s safeguarding concerns and instead stated: “While we respect all the rights of those in the trans community, it is clear that biological men cannot breastfeed”. 

She continued by using the response as an opportunity to take a dig at Starmer. 

“It is remarkable that we are in a position where the Labour party leader cannot define a woman. I think he said something like 99.9 per cent of women do not have a penis,” she said. 

“On that basis, we cannot rule him out from running to be Labour’s first female prime minister.” 

Braverman’s words were a reference to comments Starmer made in April, for which he was criticised for “throwing trans people under the bus” and appearing to support outing trans children in schools.

‘Tumbleweed moment’

Following the statement, other MPs were relatively quiet, something a number of social media users poia branded a failed “mic drop… tumbleweed moment” for the home secretary.

Several others criticised immigration minister Robert Jenrick for allegedly chuckling in the background.

In response, Michael Cashman, a gay member of the House of Lords wrote on Twitter: “If you have no principles, then you have no moral compass. She exemplifies those who encourage hate.” 

Meanwhile, Stonewall described trans people’s lives as “not a political football”.  

A spokesperson for LGBTQ+ charity said: “Trans women live their lives as women, and trans men live their lives as men. Their lives are valid and they should be treated with respect and dignity.”

Trans activism group, Bristol Leading Against Transphobia, said Suella Braverman’s “belief that she is skilfully deflecting attention falls short” because her actions “only highlight the Tories’ willingness to target trans women for mockery”.

They went on to say: “This not only lacks political astuteness but also reveals a pure act of nastiness, bigotry and bullying.”