Suella Braverman suggests ‘trans ideology’ book as summer reading

Suella Braverman pictured in an edited image which shows a copy of Helen Joyce's book over the top.

Suella Braverman has come under fire after she recommended a book on “trans ideology” to her fellow parliamentarians.

The home secretary, who has been outspoken about her views on trans issues in the past, was among a number of MPs who contributed to a “summer reading list for parliamentarians”.

The list, which was compiled by the Publishers’ Association, is designed to celebrate “the incredible capacity of books to educate, inspire and entertain”.

Braverman’s selection is Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality by Helen Joyce. The book, first published in 2021, is about the idea “that people should count as men or women according to how they feel and what they declare, instead of their biology”, according to Joyce.

Labour MP Kate Osborne condemned Braverman for recommending the book.

“Helen Joyce accuses parents who support their kids through transition of irrevocably harming their children and has called for a reduction in people who transition because ‘they’re a problem in a sane world’,” Osborne told PinkNews.

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“The language Joyce uses is dangerous and discriminatory – for the home secretary to suggest her book on gender as reading material for MPs over the summer is beyond irresponsible.

“It shows a huge lack of respect for the existing equality laws in this country and is yet more evidence of this government’s desire to attack the trans community as part of their war on woke.”

Helen Joyce speaking at MoneyConf in 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin.
Helen Joyce speaking at MoneyConf in 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin. (Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty)

Osborne added: “Trans people are already amongst the most discriminated against in society and attacks like this will just lead to even more hate crime against the trans community.”

Suella Braverman and ministers should ‘listen to trans voices’

Mallory Moore, spokesperson with the Trans Safety Network, told PinkNews that Joyce should not be viewed as a “subject matter expert” on trans issues.

“While obviously MPs can read a wide range of views on trans issues to fully understand different points of view, the fact is that anti-trans activists have so far dominated the conversation,” Moore said.

“Joyce is not a subject matter expert in any way, and has been given a startling platform and degree of access to promote misinformation mainly due to her privileged position within the media.

“Trans voices, and in particular subject matter experts simply have not been given similar access to be heard even with a non expert like Joyce.”

suella Braverman
Home secretary Suella Braverman during a visit to Rwanda. (Cyril Ndegeya/Anadolu Agency via Getty)

Moore added: “It seems clear that recommending her book sets up MPs for continued erasure of perspectives which could help simplify and clarify what is actually at stake in these conversations.”

Over the last few years, Joyce has emerged as one of the most prominent and vocal “gender critical” campaigners in the UK.

In June 2022, she faced widespread criticism when she spoke out in favour of “reducing or keeping down the number of people who transition”.

She went on to claim that “every one of those people is a person who’s been damaged”, and described trans people as “a huge problem to a sane world”.

Meanwhile, Braverman has emerged as one of the most prominent “gender critical” voices in government. In May, she was roundly criticised when she said Keir Starmer could run “as Labour’s first female prime minister” in an apparent dig at the trans community.

The Publishers’ Association’s list of summer reads for parliamentarians included a wide range of books, from classics such as Wind in the Willows to Shon Faye’s The Transgender Issue.

PinkNews has contacted Suella Braverman and Helen Joyce for comment.