EXCLUSIVE: Dawn Butler slams Liz Truss over government’s ‘failing’ of LGBT community after surge in transphobic hate crimes

Patrick Kelleher October 16, 2019
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Dawn Butler slams Liz Truss over government 'failing' LGBT community after surge in transphobic hate crimes

Dawn Butler (L) (Antony Jones/Getty) and Liz Truss (R) (Carl Court/Getty)

Labour MP Dawn Butler has slammed Conservative minister for women and equalities Liz Truss over the government’s failure to reform the Gender Recognition Act.

Butler made the comments in a letter to Truss after new statistics revealed that there was a 37 percent surge in transphobic hate crimes between April 2018 and March 2019.

Writing in the letter, shadow women and equalities secretary Butler called the new statistics “deeply worrying”. She said she was “disappointed” that there was no mention of reforming the Gender Recognition Act in the Queen’s speech in parliament earlier this week.

Labour MP Dawn Butler: Government has missed ‘another opportunity to act’.

“It’s frustrating that the government have missed another opportunity to act and have once again failed the LGBT+ community,” Butler wrote.

She continued: “I am concerned that the government is not taking transgender issues seriously; today’s figures are alarming and provide further evidence on the need to act now – the government should stop dragging its feet and just reform the act.”

Furthermore, Butler asked Truss to confirm when the government will announce plans to reform the GRA. She also said that Truss must not use the fact that she was only appointed women and equalities minister in September as an excuse to kick the can even further down the road.

I am concerned that the government is not taking transgender issues seriously.

“The fact that we are now two years on from the announcement that the act would be reformed, and nearly a year on from the close of the consultation means that the government is creating another dangerous void.

“There has been increasing anti-trans rhetoric in the press, including misinformation regarding what a change in the law would mean. This has created an unnecessary moral panic about a community that already experiences high levels of hate crime, poor mental health and exclusion.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities Dawn Butler
Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities Dawn Butler (Jack Taylor/Getty)

She finished her letter by calling the government’s stalling on reform “irresponsible governance”.

“The onus is on the government to put this right – reform is needed now.”

Gender recognition act needs reform

The Gender Recognition Act (GRA) was first introduced in 2004 but is in urgent need of reform. The current Act insists that trans people be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. They must also prove that they have been living in their gender for two years or more.

The process – which was once called “overly bureaucratic and invasive” by former prime minister Theresa May – is so cumbersome that many trans people don’t even engage with it.

The government’s public consultation on the act wrapped up almost a year ago, but officials have stalled in implementing change.

More: Dawn Butler, gender recognition act, Hate crime, liz truss, non-binary, Trans

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