Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been widely condemned for stating “a man is a man and a woman is a woman, it is just common sense” in his closing speech at the Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester (4 October).

In Sunak’s closing keynote speech he addressed the audience and said: “It shouldn’t be controversial for parents to know what their children are being taught in schools about relationships.

“Patients should know when the hospitals are talking about men or women. We shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can’t.

“A man is a man and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense.”

He was met with a rapturous applause from the Conservative Party ministers and members watching.

LGBTQIA+ organisations and individuals were quick to criticise the comments, alongside the general transphobic rhetoric presented across the broader conference, made by certain Conservative Party ministers.

Galop released a statement in response to the conference that highlighted the worrying impact of such a narrative “to undermine rights, safety, and dignity of trans people in the UK.”

Such “rhetoric is having an impact on the everyday harm done to trans and non-binary victims of abuse and violence.

“We already hear from trans victims of abuse that their perpetrators, whether at home or in the street, are using what is being said by politicians and in the media as tools of that abuse against them.”

Presenting the experience of the organisation and their network of cross-agency work and support, they highlighted how they “work with many of these services regularly – including NHS services and emergency accommodation. The narrative that this is impossible to do safely for all victims is untrue and is not grounded in practice.”

Galop then issued the following statement of solidarity to trans people: “We know that things might feel particularly difficult at the moment. If you’re LGBT+ and experiencing abuse, we’re here for you. [emoji of a pride flag and a trans flag].”

Black Lives Matter UK reacted to the speech and tweeted: “2023, we have a multi-ethnic cabinet led by an Indian heritage Prime Minister leading a government determined to remove human rights for a marginalised group. We say #TransRightsAreHumanRights and will continue to resist fascism in all its forms. #BlackTransLivesMatter.”

Munroe Bergdorf took to Instagram and explained how it “feels futile to continue shouting about the environment of violence towards trans people, that they are both creating and exacerbating.” The on-going attack towards trans people makes her “frustrated, angry and sad at the state of this country”.

She continued to highlight how “many people are failing to see what links us as human beings, instead, opting to participate in a baseless moral panic that has been played out so many times before, by government leaders and media institutions seeking authoritarian power and control.

“My hope is that people begin to realise that this culture war is entirely fabricated, based on a mounting list of hypotheticals, from a failing government needing something to distract from their own shortcomings.”


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Despite social attitudes softening towards lesbian, gay and bisexual people, unfortunately there has been a marked decline over the last three years towards the acceptance of transgender people.

64 per cent described themselves as not prejudiced at all against transgender people, compared to 82 per cent in 2019. This a notable decrease of 18 per cent.

Just 30 per cent of those surveyed think someone should be able to have the sex on their birth certificate altered, a sharp decrease from 53 per cent in 2019.

The National Centre for Social Research report highlighted that: “While women, younger people, the more educated and less religious express more liberal views towards people who are transgender, these views have declined across all demographic groups.”

See below to see more reactions to the Conservative Party conference and Sunak’s closing speech.

GAY TIMES is sending solidarity to our trans and non-binary siblings.

Trans lives matter.