David Tennant wears non-binary pin and nail polish to Mean Girls premiere amid trans rights row

David Tennant and family at the premiere performance of "Mean Girls: The Musical" in London

David Tennant has been praised for wearing a non-binary pin to the opening night of Mean Girls The Musical, following a public beef with government ministers, including Kemi Badenoch, over trans rights. 

Doctor Who star Tennant, who has proved himself to be an ally to the trans community multiple times, showed up to the premiere alongside his wife, mother-in-law and daughter on Wednesday (26 June). 

The actor, whom fans described as “completely unbothered” by the government’s attacks, wore pink nail varnish to the musical, which is based on the 2004 film. He jokingly referred to one of the movie’s best-loved lines, saying “I aspire to be fetch.” 

His appearance comes just one day after several members of the government, including prime minister Rishi Sunak, attacked him for his stance on trans rights.

The row started after Tennant took aim at equalities minister Kemi Badenoch. Speaking at the British LGBT Awards on Friday (21 June), where he received a celebrity ally award, Tennant said: “I don’t wish ill of her, I just wish her to shut up. 

“I’m a little depressed by the fact that acknowledging that everyone has the right to be who they want to be and live their life how they want to live it, as long as they’re not hurting anyone else, should merit any kind of special award or special mention because it’s common sense, isn’t it?”

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Badenoch, who is well-known for her anti-LGBTQ+ views – she reportedly delayed laws to end conversion therapy, and backed a ban on gender-neutral toilets – hit back, calling the Good Omens star a “rich, lefty, white male celebrity”. 

Writing on Twitter/X, she said: “I will not be silenced by men who prioritise applause from Stonewall over the safety of women and girls,” before going on to accuse Tennant of being “so blinded by ideology, he can’t see the optics of attacking the only Black woman in government by calling publicly for my existence to end”. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak later waded into the row, saying freedom of speech is the “most powerful feature of our democracy”. Writing on X, the PM, who, if the polls are right, has less than a week until he is evicted from Downing Street, added: “If you’re calling for women to shut up and wishing they didn’t exist, you are the problem.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer told journalists he “wouldn’t have engaged the way (Tennant) did,” adding that “robust” discussions should be respectful.

Tennant was widely defended online for his stance, with one fan writing: “David is being a good dad and ally to his child. Telling someone who denies your child should have fundamental rights to ‘shut up’ is actually very polite.”

In the wake of the row, #IStandWithDavidTennant began trending on X.

Labour’s Dawn Butler also backed the star, who has been seen wearing a Tardis pin-badge in the colours of the non-binary flag, saying: “Not all Black women think the same. I agree with David Tennant. That’s it, that’s the tweet.”

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