UK

MP praises Heartstopper for ‘saving lives’ in trans conversion therapy ban debate

Maggie Baska June 14, 2022
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side by side images of UK Labour MP Luke Pallard who is wearing a button up shirt, tie and jacket during a House of Commons debate. In the other image, Yasmin Finney plays trans teen Elle Argent in Heartstopper the character is wearing a white button up shirt, red striped school tie and dark blazer with curly hair

Out MP Luke Pollard praised Yasmin Finney's acting prowess and visibility on Heartstopper for inspiring "young trans people across the world". (Parliament TV/Netflix)

Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney got a shoutout for inspiring “young trans people across the world” during the parliamentary debate on the conversion therapy ban. 

The House of Commons debated a petition signed by more than 145,000 people calling for a trans-inclusive conversion therapy ban on Monday (13 June).

The petition was created after Boris Johnson dropped plans for an inclusive ban and instead confirmed he’d be moving forward with legislation outlawing conversion therapy on the basis of sexuality only, a move which has garnered fierce backlash.

During the debate, Luke Pollard, Labour and Co-op MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, spoke about the power that having LGBTQ+ role models in the media can have on young queer people.

He even referenced his own experience growing up in the UK as a closeted gay teen. 

“When I was a spotted, closeted teenager, there were not an awful lot of LGBT role models in society — no professional footballers or Olympic athletes,” Pollard said. “There are now.” 

He continued: “We have visibility in our society. I am pleased with all my heart that young people can now see LGBT people both in the public eye and on screen.

“As some members will know, I am an unapologetic fan of Netflix’s Heartstopper. I remember being both Nick and Charlie at school. 

“Yasmin Finney, who plays Elle, is epic in her acting; however, for me, it is her class and visibility as a trans actor, and her transfer to the Doctor Who universe, that has inspired not only me but young trans people across the world. 

“That visibility and legitimacy has saved lives.”

Pollard praised Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper universe for celebrating diversity and for being a place “where people are drawn together in a broad hug, not with a big stick”. He said it’s this world that MPs should be aiming for with this legislation. 

“That is why I want every member in this place to know that this message should go out to young LGBT people: regardless of who you are and who you love, you have the right to be loved, safe and valued, not just by society but in law,” Pollard said. 

“That is at the heart of today’s debate. Let us say to young LGB, trans and non-binary people that they are enough, we have listened to them, and we will value them.”

After the debate, the out MP gushed more about his love for Heartstopper on Twitter and said he was “certain” that Oseman’s work “has saved lives”

“Being LGBT at school in the 90s was not always easy,” he added. “I’m so happy that young LGBT people now have role models and the visibility they deserve.”

He continued: “Heartstopper with its 90s vibe is uplifting and powerful. I genuinely believe it’s saving lives as well as being fab television.”

Heartstopper star Joe Locke, who plays openly gay teen Charlie Spring in the heartwarming show, saw the debate and applauded his co-star’s amazing work on Twitter

“You’re changing the world [Yasmin Finney] and I am so proud of you,” Locke wrote. 

Heartstopper’s first season is currently streaming on Netflix, and the wonderful show has been renewed for two additional seasons.

 

More: conversion therapy ban, Heartstopper

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