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Labour’s Dawn Butler condemns government delay of GRA reform in rousing, sweary and NSFW speech

Lily Wakefield October 17, 2019
Labour MP Dawn Butler

Labour MP Dawn Butler called out Baroness Williams for saying that GRA reform is "contentious." (Paul Grace)

Dawn Butler, Labour MP and shadow women and equalities secretary, gave a powerful and frustrated speech on the delays to Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reform, and hit back at Baroness Williams on the issue.

Butler started by saying:  “I don’t want to offend anyone in the room but I don’t care if you’re LGBTQIA+.

“I care that you are loved and that you have your rights protected. That’s what I care about. And I care that the Gender Recognition Act is amended!”

Baroness Susan Williams of Trafford, minister of state for equalities, said in a speech earlier in the evening that she was “committed to reforming the GRA”, despite the delay.

Butler responded to Baroness Williams’ comments, and said: “I have a lot of respect for Penny [Mordaunt] and Baroness Williams, and I think they’ve done amazing jobs in their roles. But she said: ‘Bear with me’.

“Bear with me?” Butler ripped off her jacket while she was speaking, adding: “She said, ‘It’s contentious.’ What the f**k?”

“Once upon a time being a working woman was contentious, once upon a time being gay was contentious.

“Who gives a s**t? Just amend the act already. 108,000 people contributed to the consultation, just amend the goddamn act.”

Dawn Butler said every delay to GRA reform means trans people are being abused.

Butler made the realities of delaying the GRA clear. She continued: “We have a 37 per cent increase in hate crime on top of already having an increase in hate crime.

“Every single time there’s a gap and a void, it means that trans people, LGBT+ people, are abused.

“It means that they are deadnamed, it means that they are spat at, it means that they are raped. Why have we allowed this to happen? Just amend the act.”

She listed countries that have already reformed laws on gender recognition, including Malta, Germany and Switzerland, and said: “They amended the act one day, and the next day everyone just went about their business. It’s not a big deal!

“Trans people are not the problem, it’s the delay that’s the problem. Let’s stop the delay, let’s stop the bulls**t.

“Trying to weaponise the trans issue is so dark that it’s not even worth mentioning… We deserve much better from our government, we deserve better from the people in power, it’s just not acceptable.

“I don’t want anyone in this room to be tolerated. I don’t want to be tolerated as a black woman, I want to be accepted. I want everyone in this room to be accepted. If you can’t accept people in the room, get out of the room. We need less words and more action.”

Labour MP Dawn Butler
Dawn Butler explained the harsh reality of delaying the GRA. (Paul Grace)

The Labour MP said being your true self is “not a disease”.

The shadow women and equalities secretary finished her speech by using an unusual example to point out how ridiculous the concept of “teaching” children to be LGBT+ is.

She said: They talk about teaching people or children to be gay, so I want to know this.

“If you can teach gayness, then who speaks giraffe? 90 per cent of giraffes are gay. So who the hell speaks giraffe, what does that sound like?

“You can’t teach it, and it’s not a disease either. Being who you are and your true, authentic self is not a disease. Let’s just accept people for who they are and live as our true, authentic selves.”

Butler also announced that the Intercom Trust was the winner of the PinkNews Community Group of the Year, sponsored by Lloyd’s.

Intercom Trust is a charity providing community-led services like counselling, advocacy and information to LGBT+ people across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the wider South West.

 

More: Dawn Butler, gender recognition act, Pinknews awards 2019, shadow women and equalities secretary

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