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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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UK government: Trans people included in conversion therapy ban

The latest announcement was met with a cautious response owing to the government’s continued flip-flopping on the ban

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Entrance to Number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the UK Prime Minster (Screenshot/YouTube Sappho Channel)

LONDON – Michelle Donelan, Conservative MP for Chippenham, and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that the Tory-led government will publish a draft conversion therapy ban that will “protect everyone”, following nearly a year of outrage over the exclusion of trans people.

In a statement released Tuesday, Donelan wrote:

We recognise the strength of feeling on the issue of harmful conversion practices and remain committed to protecting people from these practices and making sure they can live their lives free from the threat of harm or abuse.

We have had constructive engagement with the Honourable Member for Rutland and Melton on her amendment which seeks to prevent children from seeing harmful online content on conversion practices.

It is right that this issue is tackled through a dedicated and tailored legislative approach, which is why we are announcing today that the Government will publish a draft Bill which will set out a proposed approach to ban conversion practices, this will apply to England and Wales. The Bill will protect everyone, including those targeted on the basis of their sexuality, or being transgender.

The Government will publish the draft Bill shortly and will ask for pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee in this parliamentary session.

This is a complex area, and pre-legislative scrutiny exists to help ensure that any Bill introduced to parliament does not cause unintended consequences. It will also ensure that the Bill benefits from stakeholder expertise and input from parliamentarians.

The legislation must not, through a lack of clarity, harm the growing number of children and young adults experiencing gender related distress, through inadvertently criminalising or chilling legitimate conversations parents or clinicians may have with their children.”

PinkNewsUK reported that Donelan announcing the draft – which will arrive “shortly” – appears to confirm reports that equalities minister Kemi Badenoch will not oversee the ban. Badenoch has faced much criticism from the LGBTQ+ community over her trans-hostile statements.

It comes after then-prime minister Boris Johnson dropped plans for a legislative ban in March 2022, only to U-turn by moving ahead with a ban that would protect LGB people only.

The Conservative government first promised a conversion therapy ban in 2018 under Theresa May’s leadership.

The latest announcement was met with a cautious response owing to the government’s continued flip-flopping on the ban, and in light of its latest attack on LGBTQ+ rights – its move to block Scotland’s gender recognition reform.

In an interview with PinkNewsUK Nancy Kelley, chief executive of Stonewall expressed optimism but was guarded in her reaction to the news.

“Almost five years since the UK government first promised to ban conversion practices in 2018, we have faced delay after delay,” Kelly said. “The UK government must publish the bill and an imminent timetable as soon as possible.”

“The UK government’s own National LGBT Survey shows that 13 per cent of trans people, and seven per cent of all LGBTQIA+ people have undergone or been offered so-called conversion therapy. Our communities simply cannot face any further delays,” she added.

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UK’s government to block Scotland’s Gender Reform bill

The First Minister of Scotland,  Nicola Sturgeon, has defended her government’s action on the GRA Reform legislation

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Houses of Parliament alongside the Thames River, London (Photo credit: UK government)

EDINBURGH – In tersely worded public statements to the media and on Twitter, Scotland’s First Minster Nicola Sturgeon castigated the conservative government of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for announcing Monday that Westminster would block the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from being signed into law by King Charles III.

The Gender Recognition Reform bill introduced by the Scottish government to Holyrood (parliament) last Spring was passed in a final 86-39 vote days before this past Christmas. The sweeping reform bill modifies the Gender Recognition Act, signed into law in 2004, by allowing transgender Scots to gain legal recognition without the need for a medical diagnosis.

The measure further stipulates that age limit for legal recognition is lowered to 16.

The UK Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, released a statement indicating that with the backing of Number 10 Downing Street, he will use a Section 35 order under the Scotland Act to block the King’s signature which is referred to as Royal assent.

Under Section 35 of the Scotland Act, UK ministers can stop a bill getting royal assent. Jack can do so if he is of the opinion that a Holyrood bill would modify laws reserved to Westminster and have an “adverse effect” on how those laws apply.

“I have decided to make an order under section 35 of the Scotland Act 1998, preventing the Scottish Parliament’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from proceeding to Royal Assent,” Jack said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

“After thorough and careful consideration of all the relevant advice and the policy implications, I am concerned that this legislation would have an adverse impact on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation. 

“Transgender people who are going through the process to change their legal sex deserve our respect, support and understanding. My decision today is about the legislation’s consequences for the operation of GB-wide equalities protections and other reserved matters. 

“I have not taken this decision lightly. The Bill would have a significant impact on, amongst other things, GB-wide equalities matters in Scotland, England and Wales. I have concluded, therefore, that this is the necessary and correct course of action. 

“If the Scottish Government chooses to bring an amended Bill back for reconsideration in the Scottish Parliament, I hope we can work together to find a constructive way forward that both respects devolution and the operation of UK Parliament legislation. 

“I have written today to the First Minister and the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer informing them of my decision,”  he said.

Holyrood Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh
(Photo Credit: Parliament of Scotland official photo)

The First Minister has defended her government’s action on the GRA Reform legislation and speaking before the vote said that [she] “will never apologise for trying to spread equality.”

“Removing the need for medical diagnosis for a trans person who wants to legally change their gender is one of the purposes of this legislation because that is one of the most traumatic and dehumanising parts of the current system,” Sturgeon said.

Addressing the opposition and Tory arguments that the GRA Reform bill harms women and girls the First Minister said:

“As a woman, I know what it’s like to live with the fear at times of potential violence from men.

“I’m a feminist and I will do everything that I can to protect women’s rights for as long as live, but I also think it’s an important part of my responsibility to make life a little bit easier for stigmatised minorities in our country, to make their lives a bit better and remove some of the trauma they live with on a day-to-day basis and I think it is important to do that for the tiny minority of trans people in our society and I will never apologise for trying to spread equality, not reduce it, in our country.”

In London, UK equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has made it clear she is against reforms. Badenoch suggested the Scottish bill could have a detrimental impact on the rest of the UK because it would not be possible for the legislation to be “fully contained” within Scotland.

She addressed those concerns in a letter she sent to Sturgeon that was leaked to the Times last month.

Sturgeon said that she thinks it would be an “outrage” if the Tory-led government blocks the Scottish gender recognition bill, and will “embolden them” to block more bills, creating a “very slippery slope.”

“The Scottish government will defend the legislation and stand up for Scotland’s parliament,” she said adding, “If this Westminster veto succeeds, it will be the first of many.”

Sturgeon’s reference to the “slippery slope” details the rancor between Downing Street and Edinburgh over a proposed second referendum for Scottish independence. The referendum held in 2014 had failed by 55% to 45%, but things have changed since then, mostly because of Brexit. The Tory led UK government has repeatedly said it will not allow second referendum and this past November ruled the Scottish government cannot unilaterally hold a second independence referendum.

Maggie Chapman MSP, equalities spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, told PinkNews that the Tory government could “destroy devolution” if it tried to stop Scotland’s gender reform bill. She also warned that intervention could trigger a bitter legal battle.

“If they actually go through with their threat to either block the bill from receiving royal assent or block the implementation of it… I think that signals that this becomes about something much more than the issue of self-declaration – this becomes a constitutional crisis, I think,” Chapman told PinkNews.

Chapman also said she is “100 per cent certain” that the Scottish government would challenge the decision in court, resulting in a legal war that could set precedent for other cases.

Pink News also reported that Jayne Ozanne, a former equalities advisor to the Tory government, said she “couldn’t believe” the prime minister had signed off on Section 35 being invoked “to undermine trans people’s rights”.

“This is a very dark day,” she said.

“The international community will be appalled. The LGBTQ+ community, alongside our friends and allies, will be furious and the British people will look on amazed.

“All will rightly wonder why [Sunak] has chosen to focus on one of the most marginalised and misunderstood groups in our society at a time of crisis in both our NHS and public services.

“I believe it is the beginning of the end for the United Kingdom, and few will forgive him for it.”

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Scotland passes trans reform bill, UK Tories threaten to block it

Alister Jack, the UK government’s Scottish secretary, has hinted that Whitehall might block the gender recognition reform passed today

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Holyrood Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh (Photo Credit: Parliament of Scotland official photo)

EDINBURGH –  The Gender Recognition Reform bill introduced by the Scottish government to Holyrood (parliament) last Spring was passed in a final 86-39 vote Thursday. The sweeping reform bill modifies the Gender Recognition Act, signed into law in 2004, by allowing transgender Scots to gain legal recognition without the need for a medical diagnosis.

The measure further stipulates that age limit for legal recognition is lowered to 16.

Colin MacFarlane, Director for Stonewall Scotland and Northern Ireland at the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy and rights organization, in a statement released after the vote called the bill’s passage by Holyrood “a tremendous step forward for trans rights and for LGBTQ+ people in Scotland.”

“It brings Scotland into line with international best practice and once again establishes itself as a world leader on human rights, by making a small change which brings dignity to trans people who deserve to be legally recognised for who they are,” MacFarlane said.

“The UK government must now follow and introduce legislation to ensure that trans people UK-wide have access to the same standards of human rights,” he added.

Passage of the measure, which Holyrood commenced debate on earlier this week, was acrimonious and at times heated PinkNewsUK reported, as Tories opposed to the measure forced a vote on the timetable late Tuesday into the early morning hours of Wednesday for considering the amendments to the legislation and raised further motions as well as points of order before the debate on the over 150 amendments to the bill began.

The measure in Scotland was introduced after years of delay in Westminster by the UK government and its Parliament. PinkNewsUK journalist Maggie Baska noted:

At present, trans people in the UK must apply to a gender recognition panel and present a diagnosis of gender dysphoria – a laborious process that can take years due to the incredibly long wait times at NHS gender clinics. People can only apply to be legally recognised as male or female – non-binary genders are not legally recognised in the UK.

Applicants must provide two medical reports, and at least one needs to include details of any gender-affirming treatments or healthcare the individual plans to have. It also needs to confirm a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. 

The individual must also prove they’ve lived in their “acquired” gender for at least two years, and they must swear they intend to do so for the rest of their lives. This can include evidence showing they’ve used a different name in official documents or changed their gender on their driving license or passport.

Additionally, the period in which applicants need to have lived in their acquired gender will be cut to three months or six months for people aged 16 and 17. There is also a new requirement of a “waiting period” of three months after applying when an individual must reconfirm their wish to receive the GRC. 

It will no longer be a requirement to submit detailed evidence of the individual living as the other gender. 

Trans people wanting to change their legal gender will still need to swear an oath about remaining as their authentic gender for life, and it will continue to be a criminal offence to knowingly make a false application for a GRC. “

Proponents of the GRA Reform Bill put forth in Holyrood argued that the current process is too invasive and causes distress to trans people, who already face marginalization and stigmatization. 

With today’s vote, Tories are vowing to block its signature into law by King Charles III, known as Royal Assent, by use of a Section 35 order. In the UK system of government, a section 35 order is intended to prevent laws passed by the Scottish Parliament having “an adverse effect on the operation of the law as it applies to reserved matters.”

The First Minister of Scotland,  Nicola Sturgeon, has defended her government’s action on the GRA Reform legislation and speaking before the vote said that [she] “will never apologise for trying to spread equality”.

“Removing the need for medical diagnosis for a trans person who wants to legally change their gender is one of the purposes of this legislation because that is one of the most traumatic and dehumanising parts of the current system,” Sturgeon said.

Addressing the opposition and Tory arguments that the GRA Reform bill harms women and girls the First Minister said:

“As a woman, I know what it’s like to live with the fear at times of potential violence from men.

“I’m a feminist and I will do everything that I can to protect women’s rights for as long as live, but I also think it’s an important part of my responsibility to make life a little bit easier for stigmatised minorities in our country, to make their lives a bit better and remove some of the trauma they live with on a day-to-day basis and I think it is important to do that for the tiny minority of trans people in our society and I will never apologise for trying to spread equality, not reduce it, in our country.”

In London, UK equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has made it clear she is against reforms. Badenoch suggested the Scottish bill could have a detrimental impact on the rest of the UK because it would not be possible for the legislation to be “fully contained” within Scotland.

She addressed those concerns in a letter she sent to Sturgeon that was leaked to the Times earlier this month.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Alister Jack, the UK government’s Scottish secretary, has hinted that Whitehall might block the gender recognition reform passed today. In a statement released after the vote Jack said:

“We share the concerns that many people have regarding certain aspects of this bill, and in particular the safety issues for women and children.

We will look closely at that, and also the ramifications for the 2010 Equality Act and other UK wide legislation, in the coming weeks – up to and including a section 35 order stopping the bill going for royal assent if necessary.”

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British comedian challenges Beckham to give up £10 mil Qatar deal

In 2021, multiple news outlets reported Beckham had signed a ten-year deal with Qatar to be a face for soccer there

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

KINGS HEATH, Birmingham, UK – Joe Harry Lycett, a celebrity British comedian and television presenter, challenged British football [soccer] star David Beckham on Sunday to walk away from Beckham’s £10 million deal to be ambassador for Qatar during the FIFA World Cup.

In 2021, multiple news outlets reported Beckham had signed a ten-year deal with Qatar to be a face for soccer there. Qatar criminalizes same-sex “sexual conduct” and has persecuted transgender people in that country.

In October, Human Rights Watch documented arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment in detention of LGBT Qataris by the Preventive Security Department. As a requirement for their release, security forces mandated that transgender women detainees attend conversion therapy sessions at a government-sponsored “behavioral healthcare” center. Despite sustained pressure, Qatari authorities have refused to repeal laws criminalizing same-sex relations.

World Cup Ambassador Khalid Salman last week described homosexuality as “damage in the mind.”

Salman, a former Qatari soccer player, made the comment during an interview with a reporter from ZDF, a German television station, in Doha, the Qatari capital.

The former Qatari soccer player in response to the reporter’s question about the criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual relations in his country described homosexuality as “haram” or “forbidden” under Sharia law. A member of the World Cup organizing committee abruptly stopped the interview after Salman made his comments. 

Beckham, the former captain of England’s national soccer team, has been heavily criticized for his decision to accept the paid ambassador position for Qatar at the FIFA World Cup 2022 from numerous LGBTQ+ rights groups.

Lycett released a video Sunday, (November 13) on his Twitter account:

“I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon,” he said.

“You were the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans, and you married a Spice Girl which is the gayest thing a human being can do,” Lycett said.

Lycett continued: “You have always talked about the power of football as a force for good. Which suggests to me you have never seen West Brom.

“But, generally, I agree. So with that in mind I’m giving you a choice.

“If you end your relationship with Qatar I will donate ten grand of my own money (that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting) to charities that support queer people in football.

“However, if you do not I will throw the money into a shredder at midday next Sunday, just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup and stream it live on a website I’ve registered called BendersLikeBeckham.com. Not just the money, but also your status as gay icon will be shredded.

“Also you’ll be forcing me to commit what might be a crime. Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha.”

The comedian also set-up a website BendersLikeBeckham.com, which features only his video, as well as a countdown timer showing how long Beckham has to make his choice.

Beckham has yet to respond to the tweet or inquiries from British LGBTQ press outlets PinkNewsUK, Attitude, and other media outlets.

Additional reporting by Michael K. Lavers

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Britain’s new prime minister’s cabinet slams LGBTQ+ rights

Sunak’s inner cabinet ministers and top advisors negatively discussing LGBTQ+ equity and rights using homophobic and transphobic descriptions

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Houses of Parliament alongside the Thames River, London (Photo credit: UK government)

LONDON – Leading British LGBTQ+ media outlet PinkNewsUK released a short video on Twitter that contained clips of UK Prime Minster Rishi Sunak’s inner cabinet ministers and top advisors negatively discussing LGBTQ+ equity and rights using homophobic and transphobic descriptions.

SNP Parliamentarian John Nicholson, who represents Ochil & South Perthshire, Scotland noted that “With a few honourable exceptions, the #Sunak top team is packed with bigots. Have a listen to this shower….”

One week ago Sunak named actively transphobic MP Kemi Badenoch as minister for women and equalities.

Badenoch had previously served under former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss in the Government Equalities Office (GEO) during the premiership of former p.m. Boris Johnson, when Truss held the position of minister for women and equalities.

The Ministry is responsible for the protection and promotion of the rights of the vulnerable populations in Britain including the LGBTQ+ community, addresses gender inequalities, labour and employment as well as community mobilization and empowerment.

PinkNewsUK reported that Badenoch had felt empowered by Truss to push back against trans rights during her time in the GEO. “I could not have done anything without being empowered by my senior minister, Liz Truss, to challenge advice, meet whoever was relevant and do my job as I saw fit,” she wrote in The Sunday Times on 31 July. 

PinkNewsUK also reported:

In its 2019 manifesto, the Conservative Party vowed to “vigorously combat harassment and violence” against LGBTQ+ people. It also promised to “support marginalised communities in the developing world, hosting the UK government’s first ever international LGBT conference”. 

At the time, Anderson said that “trust and belief” in the government’s “overall commitments to LGBT+ rights” was damaged after Boris Johnson dropped long-promised plans to ban conversion therapy in the UK. Johnson later backtracked and decided to bring forward legislation to ban conversion therapy – but such protections would exclude the trans community

The Tory government’s LGBTQ+ conference was cancelled in April after over 120 LGBTQ+ rights and HIV advocacy groups pulled out due to {then UK prime minister] Johnson’s refusal to protect trans people from conversion practices. 

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British prime minister names transphobic MP as equalities minister

“We’ve got gay marriage & civil partnerships, so what are transsexuals looks for?” remarks leaked in 2021 a year after Badenoch became an MP

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Kemi Badenoch MP (Screenshot/YouTube UK Parliament TV)

LONDON – Within hours of his meeting with King Charles III and named UK’s latest Tory Prime Minister,  Rishi Sunak announced he was going to move quickly to fill key posts. Tuesday Sunak named Dominic Raab as deputy prime minister, James Cleverely as foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt who will stay on as chancellor, and actively anti-Trans MP Kemi Badenoch as minister for women and equalities.

Badenoch had previously served under former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss in the Government Equalities Office (GEO) during the premiership of former p.m. Boris Johnson, when Truss held the position of minister for women and equalities.

The Ministry is responsible for the protection and promotion of the rights of the vulnerable populations in Britain including the LGBTQ+ community, addresses gender inequalities, labour and employment as well as community mobilization and empowerment.

PinkNewsUK reported that Badenoch had felt empowered by Truss to push back against trans rights during her time in the GEO. “I could not have done anything without being empowered by my senior minister, Liz Truss, to challenge advice, meet whoever was relevant and do my job as I saw fit,” she wrote in The Sunday Times on 31 July. 

Badenoch secretly met with both anti-trans activist Keira Bell and anti-trans lobby group LGB Alliance in her first stint at the GEO. It was reported that the anti-Trans non-profit LGB Alliance had reached out to her to argue against banning conversion therapy, a practice considered “torture” by the United Nations, PinkNewsUK noted.

Civil servants reportedly said at the time it was “inappropriate” of Badenoch, whose job it is to promote “transgender equality“, to speak with people who wants to limit the rights of young trans people. The Tory MP “overruled” them and spoke to anti-trans activists nevertheless.

PinkNewsUK also reported that in remarks leaked in 2021, but made in 2018, just a year after Badenoch became an MP, she reportedly described trans women as “men using women’s bathrooms” and asked: “We’ve got gay marriage and civil partnerships, so what are transsexuals looks for?”

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10 Downing St. musical chairs: Rishi Sunak new UK Prime Minster

Sunak is expected to travel to Buckingham Palace Tuesday to be appointed prime minister and asked to form a government by King Charles III

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Rishi Sunak & doorway to Number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the UK Prime Minster (Los Angeles Blade graphic)

LONDON – Following the resignation of Liz Truss, her 44 days in office — the shortest tenure of any British prime minister in history last Thursday, the conservative party met Monday and named has Rishi Sunak as the new Tory party leader.

Sunak is expected to travel to Buckingham Palace Tuesday to be appointed prime minister and asked to form a government by King Charles III. Sunak’s rise to head of the party came after after the only other candidate, Penny Mordaunt, dropped out of the race. Former prime minister Boris Johnson had hinted at a potential challenge to return but abruptly announced Sunday that he was not in the running to get his old job back.

The 42-year-old Sunak is one of the wealthiest people in Britain, his wealth exceeds the fortune of the British Monarchy itself. The Washington Post noted that the former banker, and his wife, Indian tech heiress Akshata Murty, have an estimated fortune of about 730 million pounds ($827 million), according to the Sunday Times Rich List. On the 2022 list, the monarch was estimated to have about 370 million pounds ($419 million) by comparison.

Leading British LGBTQ+ daily publication PinkNewsUK notes that for Britain’s LGBTQ+ community there are divisions over Sunak’s taking over. Jayne Ozanne, the former government LGBTQ+ advisor and anti-conversion therapy campaigner, was among those to congratulate Sunak PinkNewsUK reported.

Ozanne told PinkNews: “In congratulating Mr Sunak on his appointment as prime minister, I would urge him to prioritise the needs of those who are feeling the most vulnerable and scared at this time of extreme uncertainty.

“This includes members of the LGBT+ community, many of whom live in constant fear given the toxic nature of the debate over trans rights, exemplified by soaring hate crime statistics.

“He has an opportunity to address these concerns directly by giving a clear commitment to a full ban on ‘conversion therapy’ and abolishing the barbaric Rwanda asylum policy.

“Moreover, I hope he will look to reset the clock in relation to the Tory party’s disastrous relationship with the LGBT+ community over the past few years.”

Others in the UK LGBTQ+ community were less enthusiastic the news site reported.

Longtime human rights and LGBTQ+ rights activist Peter Tatchell told PinkNewsUK:

“Rishi offered nothing to the LGBT+ community during his leadership campaign,” he said. “I am not hopeful about any progress on banning conversion therapy or reform of the Gender Recognition Act under his premiership.”

Tatchell called for an immediate election, adding: “Rishi has no mandate for anything. He was not elected by the British people. He was selected by a tiny group of just over 100 Tory MPs.

“There has to be a general election to ensure that our prime minister and his policies have a public mandate.

“Changing prime minister and government policies twice without an election is not democratic.”

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She’s out! (Not in a gay way) UK Prime Minister Liz Truss resigns

Her abrupt departure marks the second rebellion against the policies of a prime minister in four months by the ruling Tory party

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Liz Truss (Screenshot BBC)

LONDON – The famous black door with the brass number 10 opened and the petite blond-haired woman emerged striding to the podium to address the British people Thursday morning, announcing her resignation as Britain’s Prime Minister.

With her announcement, Liz Truss became the shortest serving prime minster in the country’s recorded history at only 44 days, compared with England’s longest serving prime minister Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, who is generally regarded as the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain, whose term ran 20 years and 314 days, (1721–1742).

Her abrupt departure marks the second rebellion against the policies of a prime minister in four months by the ruling Tory (conservative) party. The BBC noted that Truss said her successor would be elected by next week.

Tory MPs revolted against Truss after a series of U-turns on her economic plan sapped her of authority. In her brief speech the prime minister said the Conservative Party had elected her on a mandate to cut taxes and boost economic growth.

But given the rebellion, she acknowledged, “I recognise that I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”

Truss said she would remain in post until a successor formally takes over as the Tory party leader and is appointed prime minister by King Charles III.

Truss was also pilloried by Britain’s LGBTQ+ community, one activist telling Pink News UK that the prime minister would be remembered by the LGBTQ+ community for her “silence and inaction.”

“Liz Truss will be remembered for her many failures, indeed for many in the LGBT+ community she will be known for her silence and inaction on critical matters that have impacted our safety and allowed perpetrators of hate to act with impunity,” Jayne Ozanne, an LGBTQ+ activist who previously sat on the government’s LGBT Advisory Panel, said.

“Following the ‘summer of hate’, where the trans community saw their rights become a toxic political football, she did nothing to address soaring hate crime figures or progress the urgent need for a ban on conversion practices.

“We now need a prime minister who takes our concerns as highlighted in the 2018 LGBT+ Survey seriously and who has the humility to listen, take advice and admit when they have made mistakes,” Ozanne added.

Cleo Madeleine, communications officer at trans charity Gendered Intelligence, told PinkNews UK that the next prime minister must learn from Truss’ failures.

“Liz Truss has not left a positive legacy for the office of prime minister. Her leadership campaign was marked by anti-trans rhetoric as she competed for the attention of the Tory right.

“She appointed ministers with dubious records on LGBT+ rights. Her equalities minister, Nadhim Zahawi, criticised teaching about trans people in schools. Health minister Therese Coffey was a staunch opponent of equal marriage and consistently voted against improvements in LGBT+ rights.”

The White House released a statement from President Joe Biden reflecting on the news that Truss had stepped down.

“The United States and the United Kingdom are strong Allies and enduring friends — and that fact will never change. I thank Prime Minister Liz Truss for her partnership on a range of issues including holding Russia accountable for its war against Ukraine. We will continue our close cooperation with the U.K. government as we work together to meet the global challenges our nations face,” Biden said.

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Britain bids farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, an iconic monarch

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, remembered the Queen as an “iconic leader” and “beacon of wisdom and principled leadership”

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The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II draped in the Royal Standard during her funeral services at Westminster Abbey (Screenshot live feed/Press Pool)

LONDON – World leaders joined Britain’s Royal family and 2,000 other dignitaries for the hourlong state funeral service of Queen Elizabeth II in tributes and prayer at Westminster Abbey Monday.

The King, Charles III, accompanied by his Queen-Consort Camilla, the Prince of Wales William with his wife Kate and their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, the King’s siblings Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the King’s younger son, Harry, Duke of Sussex, their wives and the extended royal family escorted the coffin into the services and later attended the private interment at the Royal vault at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle where the deceased monarch will rest alongside her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The King accompanied by Queen-Consort Camilla is seen here with his sister Anne, Princess Royal during state funeral services for their mother Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey Sept. 19, 2022.
(Screenshot live feed/Press Pool)

The state funeral was attended by numerous heads of state including the new U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss, U.S. President Joe Biden and the First Lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, were also present.

Leaders of most Commonwealth countries attended, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese making the nearly 24-hour journey from the other side of the globe.

In addition to political and other dignitaries including other European royals attended along with Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. Japanese news outlet Asahi Shimbun reported, citing Imperial Household Agency officials, that a Japanese emperor has only attended the funeral of a foreign head of state or royal family member on one previous occasion, when then-Emperor Akihito attended the funeral of Belgian King Baudouin in 1993.

Spain’s King Felipe VI and his wife Queen Letizia were among the European royals who attended. Former Spanish King Juan Carlos I and former Queen Sofia were be present. The former King is the great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and a distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.

Reuters reported that Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who remembered the Queen as an “iconic leader” and “beacon of wisdom and principled leadership,” also attended.

The Nave of Westminster Abbey, during state funeral services for Queen Elizabeth II
(Screenshot live feed/Press Pool)

Elizabeth II oversaw a significant change in the role of the monarch and Britain’s place on the world stage in the 70 years she was on the throne. Reuters noted that the 40th sovereign in a line that traces its lineage back to 1066, Elizabeth came to the throne in 1952 and became Britain’s first post-imperial monarch.

She oversaw her nation trying to carve out a new place in the world, and she was instrumental in the emergence of the Commonwealth of Nations, now a grouping comprising 56 countries.

She guided her government over the administrations of 15 Prime Ministers starting with Sir Winston Churchill and ending with her asking Liz Truss to form a government as Prime Minister only a couple of days before her death at Balmoral Castle, her summer home in the Scottish highlands.

The Queen’s legacy in regards to the LGBTQ+ community was complicated

In 1952, when she took the throne after the death of her father, King George VI, same-sex sexual relations were criminalized in Britain. The same laws were also brought to the Commonwealth countries that it colonized, NBC Out reported.

By the time she died, the landscape for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights looked dramatically different — at least in the United Kingdom — in part because she approved of many pro-LGBTQ measures, such as same-sex marriage. That support has led some to argue that she was a “quiet” supporter of LGBTQ rights, but to others she was just doing her job.

Elizabeth, among other things, pardoned Alan Turing, an acclaimed World War II codebreaker and computer scientist who died by suicide two years after his 1952 conviction for “gross indecency.” 

Elizabeth gave royal assent to the Sexual Offenses Act of 1967, which decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations among men in England and Wales who are at least 21.

Elizabeth gave royal assent to the marriage equality law that took effect in England and Wales in 2014. Elizabeth has also urged the U.K. to ban so-called conversion therapy.

Additional reporting by Michael Lavers, Reuters, AFP, and NBC News Out

Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral at London’s Westminster Abbey – LIVE (previously recorded):

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The King’s speech to the UK, the Commonwealth & the world

“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years”

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Screenshot/YouTube The Telegraph

LONDON – In his first address as the United Kingdom’s Head-of-State, Charles spoke to the his nation and the global community regarding the death of his beloved mother, Queen Elizabeth II and his commitment to his people as he succeeds her as King.

The Telegraph reported that the broadcast was recorded in the Blue Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace, after the King and Queen-Consort greeted crowds of mourners outside the gates.

In a final message to his mother, the King said: “To my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you. “Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. “May ‘flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest’.”

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