Miriam Cates: What has the Tory MP said about trans people and trans rights?

Miriam Cates MP

Conservative MP Miriam Cates’ involvement in pressuring the government to shelve a long-promised ban on trans-inclusive conversion therapy is just the latest in a lengthy anti-trans campaign.

Plans for a ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’ practices could be scrapped as dozens of Tory MPs, led by Cates, urged prime minister Rishi Sunak not to include it in the King’s Speech – which sets out the government’s legislative agenda for the following year – in November.  

Former prime minister Theresa May promised a ban on practices that sought to suppress or ‘cure’ a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity during her time in power. Boris Johnson repeated the pledge during the 2019 general election campaign, and Sunak’s government has teased it would bring forward a trans-inclusive conversion therapy ban

The bill was said to also protect trans people from the harmful, pseudoscientific practice – a crucial inclusion that LGBTQ+ campaigners have long demanded.

But the latest backtrack on a conversion therapy ban followed “intense” lobbying by Cates, ITV’s Paul Brand reported. Brand shared screenshots of messages the Penistone and Stocksbridge MP sent to colleagues, urging them to voice their opposition to a bill she believed would “split” the Conservative Party.

Cates, an evangelical Christian, has previously framed her anti-trans campaigning as centring on women’s rights.

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Miriam Cates has long equated trans people with predatory behaviour

Despite having only been an MP since the last election, Miriam Cates has been unabashed about attacking protections for trans people and anything that she deems as ‘woke’. 

Cates has used dog whistle claims that furthering the rights of trans people “erodes the very concept of women” and “harms children”

Addressing the House of Commons in January, Cates said it was “absolutely right” for the Tory government to block Scotland’s gender recognition reform law

She claimed the bill – which makes it easier for trans people to gain legal recognition of their affirmed gender – would make it “vastly easier for a predator to gain access to children” and alleged it would have a “chilling effect” on single-sex spaces.

Her anti-trans rhetoric was quickly called out by Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who said her speech was “probably one of the worst transphobic, dog whistle speeches” he had heard in a “long time”. 

In April, Cates said she was teaming up with Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who also has a history of anti-trans rhetoric, against trans rights to ensure “women’s rights are protected at all costs”

Just a few weeks later, in May, the evangelical Christian MP further cemented her anti-trans stance as she proclaimed that she doesn’t want children to “change gender at school”

She doubled down on this by later declaring that she wanted a “ban on schools socially transitioning children” ahead of the government’s forthcoming guidance for schools. 

The guidance will reportedly see teachers forced to ‘out’ trans pupils to parents without their consent. Teachers and teachers’ unions have said compassion for trans students is needed in future guidance. 

Tory MP Miriam Cates, who has been criticised for her anti-trans views, wears a red dress with a blue pattern on it as she speaks before fellow politicians
Miriam Cates claimed women are ‘frightened to go to hospital’ because of trans activism. (UK Parliament)

During a debate on the Equality Act in June, Cates claimed that “ordinary women are frightened to go to hospital” and men “fear for the safety of their daughters in public toilets” while “academic elites cave into” what she believed to be “aggressive and misogynistic trans activism”.

In 2022, it emerged that Miriam Cates was once on the board of a church accused of conducting conversion therapy

Cates denied being aware of “any such therapy taking place”, said that it was “never something raised” with her and that she left the church in 2018 due to family reasons. 

Miriam Cates has repeatedly targeted LGBTQ+ charities

In a 2021 speech before the House of Commons, Cates accused LGBTQ+ charities Stonewall and Mermaids of teaching children “dangerous and contested extreme ideologies” in schools.

She also claimed that the Allsorts Youth Project and the Diversity Role Models group were providing trans-inclusive education to young people. 

Cates called for a police investigation into Mermaids in 2022 because she alleged the trans charity was promoting what she believed to be “harmful” information to children.

Tory MP Miriam Cates, who has been lambasted for her anti-trans views, wears a red dress as she speaks before the House of Commons
Tory MP Miriam Cates has claimed that acceptance of the trans community ‘erodes the very concept of women’. (UK Parliament)

Despite Cates’ complaints, Mermaids has supported trans, non-binary and gender diverse children and their families in the UK since 1995. It is now one of the most prominent trans youth charities, offering online services, educational resources and residential weekends. 

In her recent message asking MPs to shelve the conversion therapy ban bill, Cates claimed the legislation would “effectively put a Stonewall charter into law”, according to the messages posted by Brand. 

Stonewall emphatically denied Miriam Cates’ characterisation of the ban in a post on social media

“It’d be a long-overdue move to halt the real abuse happening behind closed doors every day,” the LGBTQ+ charity wrote.

“It’s backed by the entire LGBT sector, medical establishment, Church of England, the public and indeed a majority of Conservative voters.”

Cates has also shared regressive views on family, marriage and sex education

The Tory MP has repeatedly positioned herself as a champion of the institution of marriage, but her views on marriage are linked to outdated beliefs about ‘traditional’ families and the role of women in society. 

Addressing the National Conservatism gathering in May, Miriam Cates claimed the UK’s low birthrate is caused by “cultural Marxism”, and that young people not having babies is the most pressing policy issue of the generation. 

Cultural Marxism was a term used as a far-right antisemitic conspiracy theory claiming that Marxist scholars of the Frankfurt school in interwar Germany, many of whom were Jewish, had devised a programme of progressive politics intended to undermine Western democracies.

Cates also opposes no-fault divorce because she claims it has “removed any value at all in the eyes of the law for getting married”. 

Tory MP Miriam Cates, who has been lambasted for her anti-trans views, wears a blue dress as she speaks at a National Conservatism event
In a National Conservatism speech, Miriam Cates alleged falling birth rates in the UK are linked to ‘cultural Marxism’, no-fault divorce and rising number of people going into education. (YouTube/National Conservatism)

Miriam Cates said that she believes that “spending so much time” on education makes it “difficult” for women to decide when to have children. 

Speaking before the Commons, the MP claimed the “most stable form of family” and the “one with the best outcomes for children” is where the “parents are married”. 

She recently told Times Radio that the UK has become the “family breakdown capital of the west” and that the “ideal for children” is to “be with both biological parents”. 

Cates claimed in a House of Commons speech that pupils were being subjected to relationships and sex education classes that were “age-inappropriate, extreme, sexualising and inaccurate”.

She alleged students were being given “graphic lessons on oral sex” and about “72 genders” in British schools. 

PinkNews has contacted Miriam Cates for comment.