Belgium’s trans deputy PM warns Rishi Sunak about joining ‘real bullies’ after anti-LGBTQ+ comments

Petra De Sutter speaking into a pedestal microphone whilst gesturing with her hand.

Belgium’s deputy prime minister and one of Europe’s most senior trans politicians has warned Rishi Sunak to refrain from joining “the real bullies” with his anti-trans comments.

The UK prime minister has received criticism after saying that it is “common sense” to purposefully reject trans people’s identities during a Wednesday (4 October) speech at the Conservative Party Conference.

In the same week, it was revealed that hate crimes committed against transgender and non-binary people had jumped in the past year by 11 per cent, which the Home Office suggests was partly the fault of anti-trans politicians.

Belgian deputy prime minister, Petra De Sutter, described Sunak’s conference comments as “hurtful” and “very disappointing” in a social media post.

“These words are fuelling transphobia and are endangering the lives of many people around the world,” she continued. “Trans women are women and in no way a threat to others. Don’t join the real bullies, Rishi Sunak.”

This isn’t the first time the UK’s prime minister has made vehemently anti-trans remarks, stating outright that he didn’t believe trans women to be real women during the Tory leadership campaign in late 2022.

You may like to watch

He was also secretly filmed mocking trans women during a party in footage exclusively shared with PinkNews.

During a gathering with the 1922 Committee – a group of all-Conservative MPs that meets during weekly sessions when Parliament is sitting – Rishi Sunak said Lib Dem leader Ed Davey was “trying to convince everybody that women clearly had penises.”

“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.”

His most recent comments were described by LGBTQ+ groups, cross-party politicians, and the general public as “sickening” and “ridiculous.”

In a statement following the speech, UK trans charity Mermaids accused the prime minister of trying to “distract from the real social, economic and environmental issues faced by everyone in the UK.”

“Nothing that has been said is a change to the law, or to the rights of our community, but these statements further legitimise the harassment which many trans young people and their families experience every day.

“Trans young people and their families are asking for easier access to healthcare, supportive schools and the ability to live their lives with dignity and without discrimination, hated or abuse.

“This is no different to what any other young person wants and deserves.”