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Matt Hancock denies laughing at non-binary people after controversial radio interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer

Emma Powys Maurice May 8, 2020
Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock arrives at Downing Street on May 5 (Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty)

Health secretary Matt Hancock has denied laughing at non-binary people when asked why a coronavirus announcement included a reference to “certain genders”.

In an interview with Talkradio’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, Hancock was questioned about a tweet from the Department of Health which highlighted “the emerging evidence that coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on some ethnic groups as well as certain genders”.

Early figures show that those assigned male at birth are significantly more likely to die from coronavirus, a trend which would include trans women and some non-binary and intersex people as well as cis men.

The minister appeared eager to dismiss the inclusive language of the tweet as he interrupted Hartley-Brewer to say: “Yeah, men! It’s men! It’s men! Men!”

Hartley-Brewer asked for clarification on this, saying: “There’s a little bit of concern that the Department of Health might not know that there are only two genders.”

The health secretary stumbled over his reply, stuttering that he would be “having discussions” with “the department”.

Hopefully these discussions will examine the evidence from numerous scientific fields, including biology, endocrinology, physiology, genetics, neuroscience and reproductive science, which have confirmed that sex and gender exist on a spectrum, both in humans and in the animal kingdom.

Returning to the subject of coronavirus, Hancock reiterated that “men are more likely to die of this disease than women, and we need to understand much more about why that’s the case”.

“So not ‘certain genders’ – men,” Hartley-Brewer said. Hancock agreed: “Men, absolutely.”

“Good to know the health secretary understands the difference, even if some of the staff don’t,” she replied. “I think perhaps you might want to have a word with your terribly woke social media team.”

Hancock can be heard laughing at her comment, before adding: “Leave that to me.”

Hancock and Hartley-Brewer’s tone throughout the interview quickly attracted criticism from some on social media.

When contacted by PinkNews the Department of Health denied that minority groups were the butt of the joke in the interview.

“When you listen to the interview it is very clear the secretary of state is laughing at the presenter’s suggestion he has a ‘woke social media team,'” a spokesperson said.

“He absolutely is not laughing at any minority groups or at non-binary people and it would be entirely false and inaccurate to claim that he is.”

PinkNews also contacted Talktadio for comment but received no response at time of publication.

Hartley-Brewer has voiced her openly anti-trans views on several occasions, and recently interviewed the notorious gender critical ‘feminist’ Posie Parker on her show.

More: Coronavirus, COVID-19, gender spectrum, julia hartley-brewer, Matt Hancock, non-binary, Pandemic, talkradio

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