Transgender people have a mental illness like anorexia, say Conservative activists
People who want to change their gender are suffering from a mental illness, Conservative members have said.
A Tory membership group claims allowing people to change their legal gender is akin to affirming the belief of someone suffering from anorexia that they are fat.
Grassroots Conservative, the independent conservative body primarily made up of party members, is lobbying the government to drop its newly announced plans to review the Gender Recognition Act.
Equalities Minister Justine Greening, who is in a same-sex relationship, announced the plans Sunday, backed by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Mary Douglas – the group’s spokesperson on family, religion and public life – says party activists are outraged by the government reforms.
“In my view, it should not be easy to do something as massive as change your gender and the law is there to protect us, normally from other people, but also sometimes from ourselves,” Douglas told BBC Radio 4.
“Until very recently, that was the medical consensus and I don’t see that anything has changed.
“It’s certainly not intended to be insulting but if, for example, you have someone with anorexia who says ‘I am too fat’ … it’s not actually respectful or loving to affirm that person in a belief that is false, that doesn’t tie up with reality.”
Douglas claims that Conservative Party members are concerned by the proposals, telling the Today programme: “I think many people have really profound concerns about this.
“If somebody thinks they have a mismatch between how they think and the way their body is, the question is: ‘Which should be changed?’
“What’s interesting is that many people who have gender dysphoria also have – not all, but many – other mental health conditions, like depression or drug addiction.
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“They’re deeply troubled. And it has been proven that, when they change their gender, that doesn’t solve those issues. So, there’s an underlying issue here.”
Equalities Minister Justine Greening announced the bold plans at the weekend, alongside new rules to allow men who have sex with men to donate blood after a 12 week, instead of 12 month, abstinance.
Greening said: “This government is committed to building an inclusive society that works for everyone, no matter what their gender or sexuality and today we’re taking the next step forward.
“We will build on the significant progress we have made over the past 50 years, tackling some of the historic prejudices that still persist in our laws and giving LGBT people a real say on the issues affecting them.”
Speaking to PinkNews, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he was overjoyed that the Tories had taken inspiration from the Labour manifesto.
“I am delighted that the Government has listened to the demands of LGBT activists and is following Labour’s manifesto commitment.
“We will vote for any law that improves the rights of trans people,” he told PinkNews.