Amber Rudd has been made equalities chief as LGBT reforms remain in limbo
Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has taken over as equalities chief.
Justine Greening, the most senior out politician in the country, was dramatically sacked yesterday as Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities.
She was offered a move to another role by Prime Minister Theresa May – but quit the government rather than allow herself to be moved out of the job.
The PM has announced that Rudd will fold the crucial equalities brief into her Home Office responsibilities.
The sacking of Greening – who gave an emotive speech after winning a PinkNews Award last year – throws ongoing key initiatives on LGBT rights into uncertainty.
She had been the driving force behind plans for LGBT-inclusive sex education and gender recognition reform.
Just last month, the now-former Education Secretary launched a consultation on the future of sex and relationship education in schools.
The consultation was aimed at “inviting views on age-appropriate content” on LGBT issues, as well as on mental wellbeing and staying safe online.
LGBT-inclusive sex education will now be an issue for the new Education Secretary Damian Hinds.
By moving back to the Home Office, the Government Equality Office has now moved department 11 times since its creation in 1997.
Rudd, who has been Home Secretary since 2016, has a record of consistently voting in favour of same-sex marriage and gay rights.
But it is not known how fervently Rudd will pursue Greening’s goals – particularly in terms of gender recognition reform – as she takes over the brief.
On her website, Rudd has written that she was “pleased that the Government announced it will keep issues such as gender self-declaration under consideration.
“The Gender Recognition Act will also be reviewed in order to see whether improvements can be made to streamline and de-medicalise the gender recognition process.
“As a country, we have come a long way in terms of lesbian, gay and bisexual equality. I now want to see the same national determination for transgender people,” she added.
She has taken several steps to protect the LGBT community in Britain and raised awareness for HIV/AIDS treatment when she took an HIV test in November.
That made her the most senior minister to ever publicly take the test in Britain.
Rudd also wrote for PinkNews in July, ahead of Pride in London, emphasising that “we need to ensure hate crimes are tackled”.
As Home Secretary, she has also employed terrorism laws to ban the homophobic, neo-Nazi white supremacist group National Action from entering Britain.
She even won a sexual health poetry competition, two years before she became a Tory MP.
In a post on her site entitled “Sexual Offences Act 2003 and Transgender People,” Rudd wrote that “more must be done to help transgender people”.
However, she cast doubt on whether trans people who have sex without disclosing their gender history should be criminalised, writing that “each case is considered on its facts and merits”.