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Boris Johnson appoints anti-trans rights journalist as Downing street advisor

Lily Wakefield July 31, 2019
Andrew Gilligan

Andrew Gilligan will be the Downing Street transport advisor. (Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty)

Anti-trans rights journalist Andrew Gilligan was appointed as a Downing Street advisor by Boris Johnson last week.

Gilligan, who works for The Times, will be the transport advisor at number ten, after he served as cycling commissioner when Johnson was London mayor.

Johnson and Gilligan have a long history and, according to The Guardian, when Johnson was editor of The Spectator he hired Gilligan when he had to resign from his job at the BBC.

In 2018, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) ruled that an article written by Gilligan for The Sunday Times titled “Ladies’ loos at City landmarks may open to trans women” was misleading. 

The piece incorrectly asserted that the review “could give trans women the ability to use ladies’ public toilets for the first time” and described the plan as a “radical move.”

Edward Lord, chair of the City’s establishment committee, told PinkNews at the time that trans women have long been welcome to use public bathrooms in the City, and their right to do so is enshrined in the Equality Act 2010.

Andrew Gilligan
Andrew Gilligan wrote an article that IPSO ruled was “misleading” about trans women for The Sunday Times. (Scott Barbour/Getty)

Andrew Gilligan said “trans extremism is losing ground”

In February this year, Gilligan tweeted: “I think some trans activists must be secret double agents, put there to damage their cause and alienate as many people as possible.”

He also wrote: “Slowly, trans extremism is losing ground.”

Gilligan has repeatedly written for The Times about the “dangers” of allowing trans women to be detained in women’s prisons.

One article he wrote in 2017, titled “Up to half of trans inmates may be sex offenders,” cites a report by anti-trans pressure group Fair Play for Women and refers more than once to the “genitalia” of trans people.

Of Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reform which would allow trans people to more easily change their legal gender, he wrote: “If the government’s proposals to allow gender self-definition go through… the number of biological men in female jails is expected to increase sharply.”

In another article, in which he also quotes Fair Play for Women, he stated: “Transgender prisoners judged too high-risk for women’s jails and held at a new trans prison unit are allowed to mix with female inmates, despite promises that they would be kept separate.”

He did not mention until the sixth paragraph that the president of the Prison Governors’ Association had said that the “restricted status” trans prisoners “referred to their separation from other prisoners, rather than the crimes they had committed.”

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