Labour MP Chris Bryant says he no longer feels safe in the UK as a gay man

Labour MP Sir Chris Bryant has told Parliament that he feels less safe in the UK as a gay man than he did three years ago. 

The MP for Rhondda, who was among only a handful of out gay MPs when he was first elected in 2002, explained that rhetoric used by equalities minister Kemi Badenoch had led to LGBTQ+ people around the country feeling unsafe. 

Speaking after Badenoch addressed the House of Commons on Wednesday (6 December), claiming that the UK does not recognise self-ID from overseas countries for trans people, Chris Bryant explained: “I feel, as a gay man, less safe than I did three years or five years ago.

“Why? Sometimes because of the rhetoric that is used, including by herself [Badenoch] in the public debate.”

He added that some MPs had cheered for Badenoch’s statements on the trans community, and for statements against gender-affirming care for trans people, which could lead to LGBTQ+ people feeling even less safe in the UK. 

“Many of us feel less safe today, and when people over there cheer as they just did, it chills me to the bone, it genuinely does,” Bryant said. 

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The Rhondda MP also urged Badenoch to explain what she has done since taking her post as equalities minister to have more countries worldwide recognise same-sex marriage and civil partnerships.

Replying to Bryant, Badenoch said: “He says that my rhetoric chills him to the bone. I would be really keen to hear exactly what it is I have said in this statement or previously that is so chilling.”

She added that the current Tory government had done work on “our HIV action plan” and “around trans healthcare”, as well as “establishing five new community-based clinics for adults in the country”. 

“There is a lot that we are doing, so it is wrong to characterise us as not caring about LGBT people,” she said. 

When speaking about the years-overdue potential ban on LGBTQ+ conversion therapy on Wednesday, Badenoch claimed that gender-affirming care for trans children could be considered a “new form of conversion therapy.”

She added that doctors were “fearful of giving honest clinical advice to a child because if they do not automatically affirm and medicalise a child’s new gender they will be labelled transphobic, so whatever bill we do needs to address many of those issues and that is why we are going to publish a draft bill.”

Experts have explained that gender-affirming care is not at all similar to LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, with healthcare for trans people proven to greatly improve mental health, while conversion therapy has caused suicidal ideation, eating disorders, and other mental health issues in survivors.

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