I Kissed a Boy star Dan Harry warns Rishi Sunak trans comments could ‘provoke violence’

Dan Harry

I Kissed a Boy star Dan Harry says morale in the UK’s LGBTQ+ community has “never felt lower” following Rishi Sunak’s anti-trans comments made at this year’s Conservative Party Conference.

The 27-year-old, from Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire, Scotland appeared on the hit BBC Three gay dating show earlier in the year. 

In a new interview with The Guardian, the reality star spoke about his desire to tackle anti-LGBTQ+ crime, and criticised the recent comments made by the prime minister.

At the Tories’ annual conference on 4 October in Manchester, Rishi Sunak said the British public are being “bullied” into believing that “people can be any sex they want to be”.

Harry said of the prime minister’s comments: “All it takes is for someone like [Rishi] Sunak to say that and it emboldens Joe and Jean in Derby to think they can have these beliefs really strongly and vocally.

“It does provoke violence and aggression towards trans people who represent such a small percentage of the population.”

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‘As a cisgender, white man I get through life more or less fine’

Sunak’s remarks came a day before the Home Office revealed hate crimes recorded by the police against Britons based on their sexual orientation had dropped by six per cent in England and Wales in 2022-2023. 

But this same data showed an increase in transphobic hate crimes by 11 per cent to 4,732 recorded offences in 2022-2023 – a rise that the department has said is potentially fuelled by anti-trans comments by politicians. 

Offering support to the wider LGBTQ+ community, Harry added: “As a cisgender, white man I get through life more or less fine.

“But there are members of the community who are more vulnerable than myself, such as people of colour, or the trans community.

“Those are the ones where I imagine it’s hard to walk down the street right now and not feel like they are a target – because targets have been put on their backs by political leaders and by certain parts of the media.”

In a bid to tackle anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime, Harry, who has also been a victim of hate crime himself, has teamed up with LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall to challenge the UK government to improve strategy and data collection around hate crime. 

He recalled an incident which took place that at King’s Cross tube station in London in 2022 where a group of three young men called him homophobic slurs and threatened to push him in front of a train.

Harry said he managed to escape by running to the opposite end of the platform as the tube arrived, but remembers that no one tried to intervene or offer support. He regrets having never reported the incident to the police.

The majority of LGBTQ+ hate crime victims fail to report to police because they feel it’s “too minor” and they don’t trust the service, a 2022 study revealed.

Harry said: “Hopefully I can encourage other people to speak about their own experiences because ultimately we want to paint the most accurate picture we can of hate crime in the UK.”

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.