Wes Streeting condemns ‘toxicity’ of debates over transgender equality

August 07, 2023 04:52 PM AEST | By PAMEDIA
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The “toxicity” of debates around transgender equality is getting worse, Labour frontbencher Wes Streeting has said.

The shadow health secretary said the tone of the debates is “worse than it’s been in my adult lifetime”.

Mr Streeting also said any differences between Scottish labour and the UK party on transgender rights are “subtle”.

He spoke to broadcaster Iain Dale at his All Talk show at the Edinburgh Fringe on Tuesday.

The MP was asked how Labour would fight for LGBT+ rights if the party won power.

He said the UK should show leadership internationally, adding: “We’ve got some pretty big challenges close to home at the moment when it comes to LGBT equality, particularly in relation to trans equality.

“I feel like the temper of the debates, the toxicity of the debates, is worse than it’s been in my adult lifetime.

“I’m worried that we have actually turned the clock back in the way that we discuss these issues.”

KWes Streeting visit to Chesterfield
Wes Streeting said differences with Scottish Labour were ‘subtle’ (Jacob King/PA)

He said he was trying to be a “bridge builder” on the issue, forging a consensus which “makes this country a safer, happier place for trans people to live and to be themselves and also, make sure that women do not feel that their rights, their voices or their spaces are under attack.”

Mr Streeting said he had received a “pretty awful” reaction online in response to comments he made in a recent interview where he discussed fellow Labour MP Rosie Duffield.

Some accused him of having “sold out” the LGBT+ community he is a part of, he said.

He said: “Is the roots of LGBT equality in this country to build a smaller tent? Because I’ve never seen equality won that way.”

Earlier, he discussed the gender recognition reforms passed at Holyrood, which were blocked from becoming law by the UK Government.

The MP said amendments from Scottish Labour to the Bill would have “neutralised” toxic parts of the debate, adding: “Had they (the SNP) listened to some of the opposition a bit more, it would’ve been better. We could have learned from that at UK level.

“So there are some subtle differences (with Scottish Labour) on our position but not major ones.”


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