Angela Rayner slams ‘dangerous’ anti-LGBTQ+ Tory rhetoric: ‘We can’t go on like this’

Angela Rayner at the PinkNews Awards

Labour’s Angela Rayner has condemned the UK’s Conservative government’s ongoing anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric during a keynote speech at the PinkNews Awards 2023, sponsored by Lloyds Bank.

The opposition’s deputy leader slammed the Tory government for attempting to “win over the British public” by pitting the LGBTQ+ community “against each other” during her speech at the tenth annual awards event on Wednesday, (18 October).

“The truth is, the last decade has been an especially challenging one for the LGBTQ+ community,” she told a room of queer nominees and guests. “LGBTQ+ hate crime is soaring – including violent hate crime.

“I am sure many of you in this room have experienced or know someone who has experienced such unacceptable discrimination based on who they choose love.

“We cannot go on like this,” Angela Rayner continued.

Angela Raynor speaks at the PinkNews Awards 2023, sponsored by Lloyds Bank
Angela Raynor spoke at the PinkNews Awards 2023 (PinkNews)

Her comments come after backlash from LGBTQ+ people and allies against prime minister Rishi Sunak’s speech at the recent Conservative Party Conference, in which he claimed the British public was being ‘bullied’ by trans people.

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Angela Rayner condemned the prime minister’s inaction on LGBTQ+ policy, saying many pro-LGBTQ+ pledges had been “left to gather dust” while paying tribute to May’s LGBT+ action plan.

“Five years have now passed since the launch of Theresa May’s LGBT+ Action Plan,” she said.

“Half a decade later and many of the government’s commitments have been left to gather dust, with that action plan abandoned.”

She added that not all Conservatives are like the ones in parliament today, while further paying tribute to pro-LGBTQ+ Tories.

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Rayner also criticised home secretary Suella Braverman’s recent comments that asylum seekers are pretending to be gay in order to enter the UK, describing the home secretary’s words as “dangerous rhetoric.”

“Such disturbing comments are reckless and I condemn them in the strongest sense.”

During her speech, Rayner also commended the queer community for fighting through the anti-LGBTQ+ storm, saying that politicians can only “follow the trails that you have blazed.”

“For too long, progress has been blocked by those who think the way to win over the British public is to pit groups against each other.

“Well, if anyone thinks that moving backwards on LGBTQ+ equality is the route to electoral success, they are in for a shock. The British people want to see LGBT+ people treated with dignity, equality and respect.”

Angela Rayner
Angela Rayner made her comments at the PinkNews Awards 2023. (Credit: PinkNews)

She emphasised that pledge by vowing to modernise the law on gender recognition and “upholding the Equality Act.”

“We’ll tackle waiting lists for specialists LGBT+ healthcare and stand up for inclusive education in schools to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying.

“Labour will appoint an international LGBT+ rights envoy to raise awareness and improve LGBT+ rights across the world.”

Rayner also vowed to create a conversion therapy ban that is fully ‘trans-inclusive,’ preventing “coercive practices that targets both sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Labour leader, Keir Starmer, made similar commitments during the 2022 PinkNews Awards, saying he had been “very clear” in his commitment to banning conversion therapy and upholding the Equality Act.

However, Starmer was criticised shortly after the speech following an interview with Mumsnet, in which he said that children should not be able to choose to transition “without consent from their parents.”

Broadcaster, India Willoughby, accused Starmer and the Labour party of throwing trans people “under the bus,” saying they “don’t have the stomach to fight.”