Politics

Tory leadership hopeful Kemi Badenoch wants to ‘abolish’ gender-neutral public toilets

Maggie Baska July 13, 2022
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Kemi Badenoch stands at a transparent podium as she speaks to a crowd gathered off screen. She is wearing a red-orange dress with her hair styled in braids with white signs seen in the background.

Tory leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch and anti-trans pressure group LGB Alliance attended a 'free speech' event at the House of Lords. (Twitter/@KemiBadenoch)

Tory leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch rallied against gender-neutral toilets at a ‘free speech’ event at the House of Lords also attended by the LGB Alliance.

The former equalities minister – who was condemned for “utterly failing” LGBTQ+ people in the role – told attendees that free speech is “no longer something we can take for granted” at the event on Monday (11 July), the Telegraph reported.

She added that so-called attacks on free speech “usually harm the people who have least power” in society. 

“They don’t control institutions which is why they rely on their voices and the tools of persuasion and reason,” Badenoch said.

“I know from experience that speaking about subjects like race, ethnicity or LGBT rights can land you in hot water, but as an MP, I am safer than a lot of people who genuinely fear losing their job.”

Badenoch addressed around 200 campaigners, MPs and peers, according to the Telegraph.

Anti-trans lobby group LGB Alliance reported it attended the free speech event in the House of Lords. The group, which has continuously rallied against trans rights in the UK, shared pictures of members operating a booth as well as posing with signs.

The LGB Alliance has – among other things – compared LGBTQ+ inclusion to bestialityrefused to denounce its neo-Nazi and homophobic supporters; defended working with the anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion group, the Heritage Foundation; and witnessed a trans comic being subjected to transphobic abuse at its 2021 conference.

Kemi Badenoch rallies against gender-neutral toilets

Kemi Badenoch proudly spoke about rallying against gender-neutral toilets in public buildings during the ‘free speech’ event.

Earlier this month, the government announced new non-residential buildings in England must have separated, single-sex toilets for men and women. 

The plans will prevent new offices, schools, hospitals and entertainment venues from being built solely with “universal” restrooms. The move involves changes to building regulations and planning guidance as part of the government’s review into gender-neutral facilities that trans activists have dubbed “excluding and alienating”.

Kemi Badenoch speaking in parliament
Kemi Badenoch. (Parliament Live)

Kemi Badenoch told attendees that it was “tough” to get officials to approve her plans on the “abolition of gender-neutral toilets”. Yet, she persevered despite others questioning whether the measures were necessary.

“I had civil servants writing on the notice which I had put out saying that ‘you can’t say that’ and ‘we need to check whether that’s something you are allowed to say’,” Badenoch said.

The government said the “rise in gender-neutral toilets” meant women supposedly felt “unfairly disadvantaged” and faced longer waits to use the toilets. 

But a spokesperson for the trans-led organisation We Exist argued to VICE that government’s consultation on toilets is an attempt to “exclude, alienate and discriminate against” trans and non-binary people.

“There is also little to no evidence that cisgender women feel unsafe in current provided facilities so we are concerned that the government is creating a false narrative by which to exclude trans and GNC [gender non-conforming] people,” the spokesperson added. 

“This government is happy to start culture wars in an attempt to divert from their many, many failings in dealing with the pandemic, and this is no different.”

Badenoch held a launch event for her bid to become leader of the Tory party and prime minister of the United Kingdom on Tuesday (12 July).

At the venue, gender-neutral toilets were turned into separate ‘men’s’ and ladies’ facilities by the addition of hand-written notes on scraps of paper.

It’s understood that the signs were already present went Badenoch and her team arrived at the venue.

Kemi Badenoch resigned as equalities minister on Wednesday (6 July) amid a wave of Tory officials departures last week.

Badenoch time in the Government Equalities Office was marked by secret meetings with the LGB Alliance and repeated calls for her resignation over her office’s handling of conversion therapy ban legislation. 

She reportedly skipped a key meeting on Gender Recognition Act reforms and once described trans women as “men using women’s bathrooms” in a leaked recording. Badenoch attracted criticism after allegedly meeting with so-called “ex-gay” groups and defending anti-trans professor Kathleen Stock.

More: Kemi Badenoch, tory leadership

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