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Angela Rayner Says The Government Is Using Transgender People To Sow Societal Division

3 min read

The deputy leader of the Labour Party has accused government ministers of using LGBT+ people and identities to stir social divisions.

Speaking at a LGBT+ Labour fringe panel event at the party’s annual conference in Brighton today, Angela Rayner said the government had led a “campaign of hate” against members of the gay, lesbian and transgender community.

“I have to say that there is a campaign of hate coming out of this government,” Rayner said.

“Ministers are looking at vulnerable people, they’re looking at our trans community, they are looking at people’s identities and they see it as an opportunity to divide people. That is disgusting, that is disgraceful.”

The deputy leader’s remarks were echoed by LGBT+ Parliamentary Labour Party Co-Chair, Angel Eagle, who said: “The tactics are the same, divide and rule. The aim is the same, weaken the forces of progressive social advance.”

The former shadow minister also accused the government of appointing equalities ministers who create “misery and division”.

“They’ve appointed equality ministers whose aim is the actual opposite of equality, who seem to get their kudos from Number 10 by actually provoking as much misery and division as possible,” Eagle said.

Rayner’s comments on the LGBT+ community come as the Labour Party faces a polarised battle between some of its members and MPs on the issue of trans rights.

The MP Rosie Duffield in particular has attracted criticism for stating that “only women have a cervix” and for arguing that some spaces, including women’s refuges and prisons, should exclusively cater to biological females.

Duffield did not attend party conference this year, due to fear of reprisals for her views.

LGBT+ Labour, an official affiliate of the party, has taken a public stance against Duffield’s views and have voiced support for the inclusion of trans women in all women’s spaces.

Speaking at today’s panel event, Alex Beverley, Chair of LGBT+ Labour, remarked: “I think there has been times where (Labour) have not stood by those (equality) values, particularly in regards to the trans community. I think I feel confident that this conference is sending the message that that time is up. We will stand with our trans siblings.”

Rayner, who has sided with LGBT+ Labour on the trans rights debate, told the audience: “Being an ally is at the heart of what it means to be a socialist. Fighting the prejudice that exists in our society and having each other’s back.

“We are a party that stands with those facing oppression. Women’s rights are not in conflict with trans rights. Our fight is your fight.”

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