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Anti-trans Tory peer Baroness Nicholson condemned after launching astonishing attack on same-sex marriage

Reiss Smith June 10, 2020
Booker Prize Baroness Nicholson

Baroness Nicholson. (UK Parliament, cropped. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Tory peer Baroness Nicholson launched an astonishing attack on LGBT+ people, suggesting that marriage equality has come at the expense of women’s rights.

Nicholson, a life peer since 1997, spewed her vile anti-gay rhetoric in a verbose and muddled series of tweets.

She suggested that the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013 has degraded “the status of women and of girls… as a binary class”, saying nothing of the fact the law has given thousands of queer women the right to marry other women.

“This, as we now see, has happened and is continuing, so my sex are, as a binary class, in difficult[y] now,” she wrote.

The Tory peer was one of 148 in the House of Lords to vote for a bill designed to kill off the government’s same-sex marriage bill in June 2013.

Seven years later, she has suggested that her opposition was, all along, linked to her opposition of trans rights.

Nicholson responded to a tweet about her statement that a person’s “self-identifying swop sex wish” would “abolish women’s rights” – not making clear what this has to do with same-sex marriage.

 

When asked to explain how two men or two women marrying “degrades” women’s rights, she turned to a classic homophobic catchphrase.

“I support marriage and family life as the way to offer happiness for most people,” she tweeted.

“In the UK for at least 2,000 years and more that has meant a man and a woman.”

When a Twitter user asked PinkNews and other LGBT+ publications to make public that Nicholson “is attacking lesbians and the whole LGBTQ+ community”, the peer retweeted them, adding: “Happy to help you!”

When asked if she would like to apologise to LGBT+ people for her comments on marriage equality, Nicholson told PinkNews: “Twitter is Twitter, not journalism!”

Lynne Featherstone, the former Lib Dem MP and coalition equalities minister responsible for introducing same-sex marriage to parliament, said she was saddened by Nicholson’s reprehensible comments.

“They echo some of the bigoted views perpetrated by those who could find no legitimate argument against same-sex marriage and resorted to the ridiculous,” Featherstone told PinkNews.

“The reality is that same-sex marriage just means that two people who love each other and want to express that in marriage can now do so and live equally ever after.”

Colm Howard-Lloyd, chair of the LGBT+ Conservatives, also condemned Nicholson’s “rather jumbled thoughts”.

“There is no evidence that same-sex marriage has ‘degraded the status of women and girls’,” he told PinkNews.

“Women’s rights and LGBT+ rights are entirely compatible.

“I genuinely have no idea what she is tweeting about, but it reads as an attack on LGBT+ people. This is not acceptable, and not representative of the values of the Conservative Party.”

His deputy chair John Cope also criticised Nicholson’s “outdated views”.

“I don’t speak for the Conservative Party, but Baroness Nicholson’s views are outdated, the precise opposite of the Conservative government’s policy, and in my experience don’t align with the vast majority of party members,” Cope tweeted.

Baroness Nicholson has been prolifically vocal in her opposition to LGBT+ rights, and has in recent months waged a letter-writing campaign to lobby the government on issues of queer-inclusive sex and relationships education and the right of trans people to access single-sex spaces.

In June, she shared a letter she wrote to education secretary Gavin Williamson calling on him to “carefully consider the state’s role in telling schoolchildren that a bearded man with a penis can be a lesbian”, and falsely suggesting that inclusive education could lead to “11-year-olds being taught about anal sex”.

In May, she wrote to health secretary Matt Hancock rallying against trans people being allowed access to single-sex NHS wards.

Around the same time she also wrote to equalities minister Liz Truss to share her “concerns” on government sex and gender guidelines, claiming women and girls were losing their “traditional rights to privacy, dignity, personal identity and honour”.

Shortly afterwards, Truss shared a letter she had written to Nicholson conflating the issue of single-sex spaces, which are protected under the Equality Act, with the government’s entire separate and overdue plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, sparking widespread concerns for the future of trans rights in the UK.

 

More: anti-trans, baroness nicholson, Conservative Party, Equality Act, Homophobia, house of lords, lgbt conservatives, lynne featherstone, transphobia

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