Young trans people invited to parliament to discuss ‘growing transphobia of Rishi Sunak’s government’

A group of MPs and trans youth sit around a wooden table, holding signs that say "protect trans youth" and "listen to trans youth."

A group of young trans people has met with politicians to discuss the worrying rise of anti-trans rhetoric within the UK government.

The group were invited in association with The Mosaic Trust to talk about any subject they felt was pressing within the LGBTQ+ community to 17 MPs from the Scottish National Party, Labour and the Lib Dems, on Tuesday (4 July).

Those in attendance included shadow equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds, veteran Labour, and out gay, MP Ben Bradshaw, Olivia Blake, who identifies as bisexual, Kim Leadbeater, the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox, and Ruth Cadbury.

Nottingham East Labour MP Nadia Whittome, who also attended the meeting, told PinkNews that the group spoke about a wide variety of issues, including government policy relating to trans rights, NHS waiting times for gender-related care and access to support.

“With this particular subject, there is so much public debate at the moment, and MPs regularly talk about [trans issues] in parliament,” Whittome said.

“Their voices, the voices of trans people, rarely feature [in discussions]. I firmly believe that government policies for people who are among the most marginalised groups should be grounded in their lived experience.”

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One of the main discussion points was reportedly around a recently suggested government policy that would force school staff to “out” trans and non-binary pupils to their parents.

Guidance from the government, published in April, would also ban trans children from using changing rooms and shower facilities that align with their gender identity.

It was created in response to a report released by right-wing think tank Policy Exchange – for whom PM Rishi Sunak once worked – in March, titled “Asleep at the Wheel,” which claimed schools are compromising “fundamental safeguarding principles” for children who identify as transgender by not sharing details with their parents.

‘Some MPs might have never met a trans person before’

Whittome added that the conversations were “very valuable” and that the group of under-18s said they had enjoyed the experience too.

“Some MPs and Lords might have never met a young trans person before,” Whittome added. “This was an opportunity for them to do that and to hear directly about their experiences. Of course, there are many more MPs who didn’t come who would benefit from listening to trans people.”

She encouraged trans people across the UK, as well as allies, to contact to their local MPs to discuss trans issues affecting them.

Meanwhile, Bradshaw said: “It was a privilege to meet an inspiring group of young trans and non-binary people and hear their concerns about the growing transphobia of Sunak’s government.”

Former EastEnders star Michael Cashman, now a member of the House of Lords, also attended, and thanked those involved for “allowing young people to be heard rather than spoken about”.

In a statement, The Mosaic Trust said: “Young persons wanted to make sure that the real stories of real trans lives are heard, as they have been frustrated by the barrage of politicised anti-trans attacks that do not reflect what life is like for trans young persons in the UK today.

“This was a welcomed and important dialogue and we hope to see more MPs and peers wanting to engage with real people suffering as a result of the ongoing misinformation campaign.”

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