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As the UK approaches its next general election, it’s seeming more and more likely that the so-called ‘trans debate’ will be a prominent talking point in both the media and politics. 

In fact, it was just last year that Lee Anderson, who was at the time the Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, went as far as to say that it will “probably” be fought on “a mix of culture wars and ‘trans debate’” – meaning that topics like self-identification and gender-affirming care will be thrust into the spotlight. 

Since then, issues affecting trans and non-binary people have been addressed in Parliament several times, though never with members of the community present.

Most recently, this was seen at the ‘conversion therapy’ ban debate, which descended into anti-trans rhetoric not related to the real issue at hand. 

But is this type of discourse what potential voters are really considering as they decide who to vote for? YouGov polling shows that, despite Westminster’s fixation on trans and non-binary issues, two thirds of Britons pay little or no attention to such discourse around them. 

READ MORE: What do the UK’s new voter ID laws mean for trans and non-binary people?

Just eight per cent said they pay “a lot” of attention to this type of toxic debate, with half actually believing that discrimination against the trans community is either a “major” or at least “significant” problem in Britain today.

With that in mind, GAY TIMES took to the streets of London to ask the general public if they felt politicians were focusing on the issues that truly matter to them. 

“I feel that every politician, personally, is very self-serving,” said someone on Old Compton Street, the hub of LGBTQIA+ nightlife in the UK’s capital.

“I believe that there is not enough representation for intersectionality, diversity [and] queer rights. 

“There is not enough being done about homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia and xenophobia and that, if anything, the current politicians are capitalising on these issues in trying economic circumstances to try and win votes.”

One woman, who had been on a hunger strike for four days and counting when she spoke to us, said the “genuine care of people” should be at the forefront of politics.

“There should be no child going hungry in the UK and no child going hungry globally,” she explained. “At the moment, we have 2.2 million children who die from malnutrition every year globally. That’s something that’s completely avoidable and it’s something that we can do something about.”

Another person, who shared that they do not feel those in Parliament are focusing on the things that matter to them, added that “people are just standing to be elected again” and “are not really focusing on any issues at all”. 

“Then they get in and they do nothing,” he added.

Another echoed this sentiment, sharing their belief that MPs are “completely missing the point of what actually needs to be done and what people want from them.”

READ MORE: “Humiliating and hurtful”: Trans+ people react to Keir Starmer backing sports ban

Someone else said they feel that MPs tend to “focus” on issues that matter to the demographic of people who actually vote on election day, rather than the population as a whole. 

“They don’t tackle young people’s issues because young people don’t vote as much,” she continued. “I feel like encouraging young people to go out there and vote might make politicians care about things we care about.”

After the 2019 general election, Ipsos MORI estimated that the Conservative Party had a 47-point lead amongst voters aged 65 and above, while Labour had a 43-point lead amongst those aged 18-24. 

Current opinion polling from the aforementioned organisation shows 20 per cent of Britons are favourable towards the Conservatives (with 54 per cent unfavourable), while 37 per cent feel favourable towards the Labour Party (with 38 per cent unfavourable).

To see how more of the people GAY TIMES spoke to are feeling about what MPs are focusing on at present, watch the video below or by clicking here


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