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U.K. LGBTQ+ groups protest Trans-exclusionary conversion therapy ban

“It is apparent that Trans people have once again been sacrificed for political gain- this is callous and unacceptable”

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The Palace of Westminster home of the House of Commons and the House of Lords (Photo Credit: UK Government)

LONDON – More than 80 LGBTQ+ rights groups, including Stonewall, will pull out of the U.K. government’s first global LGBTQ+ conference after Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly decided to exclude Trans people from a conversion therapy ban. 

Johnson’s move was first reported by ITV News U.K. editor Paul Brand, who tweeted last week that legislation would cover “only gay conversion therapy, not trans.” That was a reversal from a previous ITV report of a Downing Street briefing that said Johnson agreed to not move forward with legislation banning conversion practices, despite years of promises from the government. The fierce backlash to the move caused Johnson to change course. 

However, the U-turn was not enough for LGBTQ+ campaigners, who announced Monday they would pull out of the U.K.’s first “Safe To Be Me” conference “due to the Prime Minister’s broken promise on protecting trans people from the harms of conversion therapy,” Stonewall said in a statement.  

“We will only be able to participate if the Prime Minister reverts to his promise for a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy,” it added. 

Stonewall said it made the decision with a “heavy heart,” explaining the conference “should be a moment for redoubling efforts globally to improve LGBTQ+ people’s rights and experiences.” However, last week’s plan to scrap the conversion therapy ban and Johnson’s subsequent reversal – which “protects lesbian, gay and bi cis people, but leaves trans people, including trans children, at continued risk of abuse” – left it “with no choice but to withdraw our support,” the organization said. 

“It is apparent that trans people have once again been sacrificed for political gain,” the statement added. “Commissioning a separate body of work to unpick something that has already been resolved many times the world over, can only be read as an attempt to kick the issue of protecting trans people into the long grass. This is callous and unacceptable.”

Over 80 LGBTQ+ rights groups in the U.K. supported Stonewall’s statement, including LGBT Foundation, Mermaids and the Scottish Trans Alliance, according to the Guardian

“[The government’s] subsequent U-turn was an insulting attempt at compromise that excluded our trans, non-binary and gender-diverse community,” the LGBT Foundation tweeted. “To be clear, our rights cannot be conditional on political convenience or expediency.”

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British Prime Minster backs ban on trans swimming athletes

When the prime minster was asked whether women can be born with a penis, he replied: “Not without being a man”

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Screenshot/YouTube Al Jazeera

KIGALI, Rwanda – During a break in-between sessions during the first summit meeting of the Commonwealth nations since the coronavirus pandemic in the Rwandan capital this past weekend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked by a reporter about the FINA ban on trans women athletes.

The prime minster’s response was that there were “particular problems” around “issues of gender.”

Johnson told reporters, “Look it’s very, very important that as a society we should be as understanding of everybody else as possible. I’ve always stood for that. When it comes to, when you start to move from issues of sexuality to issues of gender, you start to raise particular problems,” he said.

In a follow-up question the prime minster was also asked whether women can be born with a penis, he replied: “Not without being a man.”

“I think I’ve spoken of three concerns I’ve had in the past. They are to do with the age at which you can deem it competent to transition, the question of safe spaces for women, and the difficulties you have with sporting competitions,” Johnson continued.

“These are all very difficult problems and you have to be very sensitive. But these are the areas.”

Pressed on whether he backed the swimming ban, Johnson said: “I haven’t studied it in detail but I see no reason to dissent. That follows from what I’ve previously said.”

Nadine Dorries, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport  in a column published this past weekend by the Mail on Sunday wrote:

“I have the greatest compassion for anyone who finds themselves living in a body they don’t recognise. But we can’t pretend that sex doesn’t matter. Sex has biological consequences. If you’re born a male, and you go through puberty as a male, your body develops natural physical advantages over a woman’s. That makes you stronger and faster.

“I’m setting a very clear line on this: competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex. Not someone who was born male, took puberty blockers or has suppressed testosterone, but unequivocally and unarguably someone who was born female. I want all of our sporting governing bodies to follow that policy.”

The Guardian UK noted that Dorries, said she will make it “crystal clear” to British sporting bodies that competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex when she meets them on Tuesday to discuss their transgender policies.

Dorries will urge organisations representing football, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics and other sports to follow the lead of Fina, the governing body of swimming, by barring from female events trans women who have “gone through male puberty.”

PinkNewsUK reported Monday that since the swimming governing body FINA announced its revised trans eligibility policy, several national and international sporting administrators have followed.

The International Rugby LeagueFIFA and World Athletics, among others, have either temporarily banned or launched reviews into their trans inclusion policies.

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British Prime Minister called out for his Pride message: ‘You are a disgrace’

Johnson’s Tory-led government seemingly has been more indifferent to Britain’s LGBTQ+ community- Trans persons in particular

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Screenshot/YouTube Twitter)

LONDON – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a video message on his official Twitter and YouTube platforms celebrating Pride Month in the UK Tuesday under the social hashtag of Why #Pride Matters.

The Prime Minster said that he was “proud” at how many LGBTQ+ people have sought asylum in the UK from Afghanistan following the Taliban invasion. However, within literal minutes he was promptly criticised and in the Twitter pushback was told by one user: “You’re an absolute disgrace.” Another chimed in saying his remarks were hollow.

Johnson’s Tory-led government seemingly has been more indifferent to Britain’s LGBTQ+ community- Trans persons in particular, according to activists and the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group, Stonewall UK.

Last Spring, in early April, Bloomberg reported more than 80 organizations pulled out of the U.K. government’s international LGBTQ conference due to be held in June after Boris Johnson dropped a plan to ban so-called conversion therapy for transgender people.

One of Johnson’s top ministers, Liz Truss, was accused of using LGBTQ+ rights to ‘rile up her right-wing support base’ PinkNewsUK reported.

As minister for women and equalities, Truss scrapped much-needed reform to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) despite reams of evidence showing there was strong public support for changes that would make accessing legal gender recognition easier for the trans community.

She has also been criticised for her appointments to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and her defences of “gender critical” views.

There has also been outcry by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and activists over the government’s willingness to deport LGBTQ+ and other asylum seekers on one-way flights to Rwanda. That decision has been criticised by queer and trans advocates as “hugely concerning” and “potentially life-threatening.”

Canadian LGBTQ+ news outlet Xtra reported that Queer and trans asylum seekers in the U.K. already face inhospitable conditions. Sebastian Rocca, founder of charity Micro Rainbow, which provides safe housing to LGBTQ2S+ asylum seekers and refugees in the U.K., tells Xtra in a statement: “One of the most common reasons for the Home Office to refuse asylum to LGBTQI+ people in the U.K. is because they do not believe they are LGBTQI+,” adding that the policy has “potentially life-threatening consequences.” 

The “single young men” framing of the policy means any gay or bisexual men, transmasculine people or transfeminine people—including those seeking asylum in the U.K. for their sexual orientation or gender identity—could potentially be deported to a country with a long history of human rights violations.

In Tuesday’s message the prime minister referred specifically to Afghan LGBTQ+ persons fleeing the notoriously intolerant Taliban which regained control of the country after the Biden Administration pulled the remaining armed forces out of the war-torn country last summer after nearly 21 years of conflict.

“LGBT Afghans coming to this country because we’re a place that is welcoming and understands that type of intolerance is simply unacceptable in this country,” Johnson said.

Johnson added: “I’m proud above all that the UK is a country where you can be however you want to be and you can love whomever you choose to love no matter who you are or where you come from or what your background is.

“So it’s great to see Afghans coming to this country with that knowledge and seeing our country as a beacon of hope.

“That’s why Pride Month matters so much. And I hope you have a great Pride.”

Twitter was less than impressed:

Why Pride matters | Prime Minister Boris Johnson:

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Kevin Spacey formally charged with four counts of sexual assault in U.K.

The 62-year-old actor is due to make an appearance at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 10:00 (BST) on Thursday

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Screenshot/YouTube NBC News

LONDON – The Metropolitan Police of London confirmed that Kevin Spacey was formally charged Monday with four counts of sexual assault against three men and additionally has also been charged with causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.

The 62-year-old actor is due to make an appearance at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 10:00 (BST) on Thursday. Last month, the Crown Prosecution Service authorized charges against him.

According to the BBC the charges follow a review of evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police. He has been charged with two counts of sexual assault on a man, now in his 40s, in London in March 2005.

He has also been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent on a man, now in his 30s, in August 2008 in London.

Both incidents taking place when Spacey was the artistic director of The Old Vic theatre in London’s West End theatre district between 2004 and 2015.

The fourth charge of sexual assault is on another man, who is also now in his 30s, in April 2013 in Gloucestershire.

The Oscar winning actor has previously stated that he would voluntarily appear before a British Court.

Allegations surfaced against Spacey in November of 2017 when The Old Vic theatre told the BBC that it had received 20 personal testimonies of alleged inappropriate behaviour by Spacey. The actor’s behaviour was alleged to have ranged from making people feel uncomfortable to sexually inappropriate behaviour, an investigation by the theatre found.

The BBC reported at the time that no-one alleged rape but three people told the Old Vic they had contacted the police, while 14 of the 20 complainants were told by the investigators that they should consider going to the police.

There were 20 individual allegations and 16 were former staff, all of whom were men.

Lewis Silkin, the external law firm engaged by the theatre to conduct the investigation, said more than half the allegations were said to have taken place inside the Old Vic.

RELATED: British Prosecutors Charge Kevin Spacey With Four Counts of Sexual Assault:

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