Kemi Badenoch has met none of the leading LGBTQ+ organisations in the UK

Kemi Badenoch

Kemi Badenoch has not had meetings with any of the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ organisations since she became minister for women and equalities, despite claiming to have engaged “extensively” with them.

She made the claim in the House of Commons on Wednesday (6 December) as she laid out plans to prevent people who have received a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) in countries where self-ID is already a reality, from having their gender legally recognised in the UK.

Badenoch told MPs that she has put together an “updated” list of countries that allow trans people to self-identify, with a goal of stopping people who obtained a GRC in those countries having it recognised in the UK.

Defending her position, the minister said: “We have engaged with numerous LGBT groups but the fact of the matter is that many of them support self-ID. That is not this government’s policy.

“Stonewall does not decide the law in this country. Whatever it is that people want to campaign on, we will listen and we will hear, but we have been very clear about this… and this is something that we are not budging on and we are updating the law in accordance with government policy and we will continue to do so.”

Kemi Badenoch walking near Number 10 Downing Street.
Kemi Badenoch claimed she had had meetings with the country’s major LGBTQ+ organisations but many of them deny this. (Getty)

It remains unclear exactly which LGBTQ+ organisations Badenoch, or equalities office staff, have met.

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PinkNews asked the equalities office on Thursday (7 December) for a comprehensive list of all the LGBTQ+ organisations Badenoch had met, but no response had been received at the time of publishing.

However, PinkNews can confirm that Badenoch has not met with any of the biggest and most influential LGBTQ+ organisations operating in the UK since taking up the equalities job.

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Representatives for Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence and the Kaleidoscope Trust have confirmed that they have not had any meetings with her.

In addition, Stonewall said it has not had a meeting with Badenoch, who is also the business secretary, since July 2021 – three months before PM Rishi Sunak appointed her minister for women and equalities.

Kemi Badenoch has met with anti-trans campaign groups

However, it is known that she has held meetings with the anti-trans campaign group, LGB Alliance. She has also met Keira Bell, a prominent detransitioner – a meeting the minister alluded to in parliament on Wednesday.

Badenoch has also met with Sex Matters, another anti-trans campaign group, to discuss guidance set to be issued by the government to schools on how they should deal with transgender students.

Sex Matters wrote a letter to Badenoch shortly afterwards, thanking her for the meeting.

Kemi Badenoch in red shirt
Badenoch has met with prominent anti-trans campaigners. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Last year, openDemocracy reported that Badenoch had also met academic Anastassis Spiliadis, whose research has been endorsed by anti-trans pressure group Transgender Trend.

Around the same time, ministers met with a conversion therapy survivors group and with the UK Council for Psychotherapy. Other than those organisations, PinkNews is unaware of any pro-LGBTQ+ groups with which Badenoch has had meetings.

Badenoch’s policy ‘reflects poorly’ on the UK

LGBTQ+ groups were quick to criticise efforts to stop people from abroad having their gender recognised in the UK.

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A spokesperson Mermaids, one of UK’s most prominent charities working with transgender youth, said: “We are disappointed to see our so-called women and equalities minister yet again target the trans community, a vulnerable population accounting for less than one per cent of the general population, by repeating extremist anti-trans views from those who seek to roll back hard-won trans rights.

“Under Badenoch’s watch, the UK has slid from first to 17th place in the European league of LGBT rights, and her decision to only remove countries with progressive self-determination law reinforces her lack of care for the trans and LGBT community.”

A spokesperson for Stonewall said Badenoch’s “regrettable” policy simply highlights “just how far behind the curve the UK government has fallen on trans people’s rights, compared [with] other leading nations”.

They went on to say: “As understanding and practical support for trans people grows globally, we are seeing countries all over the world, from Canada to Ireland to New Zealand, take meaningful action to support their trans populations.

“Yesterday’s announcement will reflect poorly on the United Kingdom on the international stage, by sending out the message that our government does not want to be a world leader on LGBTQ+ rights, and does not see trans people as being worthy of respect, but instead a threat to be contained.”

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