Defending her stance on Gender Recognition Certificates (GRCs) and self-identification, UK Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, asserted that her office had extensively engaged with LGBTQ+ groups. However, recent revelations cast doubt on these claims, with major LGBTQ+ organizations denying any meetings with her.
Stonewall, a prominent LGBTQ+ rights organization, confirmed that it has not met with Badenoch since July 2021, raising questions about her stated commitment to dialogue. Additionally, LGBTQ+ advocacy groups Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence, and the Kaleidoscope Trust have all stated that they have not had any meetings with the minister.
On the other hand, it has become apparent that Badenoch has met with anti-trans campaign groups, such as the LGB Alliance and Sex Matters, which has drawn criticism from LGBTQ+ activists. These meetings have sparked concerns about the direction of transgender rights in the UK.
The policy proposed by Badenoch to prevent the legal recognition of GRCs obtained in countries with self-ID laws has been met with disapproval from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups. A spokesperson for Mermaids expressed disappointment and pointed out that the UK has dropped to 17th place in European LGBTQ+ rights rankings under Badenoch’s leadership.
Stonewall characterized Badenoch’s policy as “regrettable” and suggested that it reflects poorly on the UK’s international standing in terms of LGBTQ+ rights. They noted that other countries are taking progressive steps to support their transgender populations while the UK government appears to lag behind.
As the debate over transgender rights continues in the UK, the disconnect between the minister’s claims of engagement and the denials from LGBTQ+ organizations underscores the complexity of the issue and the challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community in the country.