Tory activist says minister's sexuality could be behind trans reforms

Tory activist suggests minister's sexuality could be behind decision to change trans policy

It comes after the Government announced reforms to equalities legislation, including removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
@ashcowburn
Monday 24 July 2017 16:22
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A Conservative activist has suggested the Education Secretary Justine Greening’s sexuality could be behind a government decision to radically overhaul outdated transgender policies in Britain.

The comments from Mary Douglas, a member of the activist group Grassroots Conservatives, came after the Government announced trans people will soon be able to chose their gender more easily as part of a shake up of equalities legislation.

The reforms will include removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and will ultimately be included in updates to the Gender Recognition Act. Just last week Theresa May said that “when it comes to right and protections for trans people, there is still a long way to go”.

But speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Douglas said she was “very concerned” about the move from the minister for women and equalities. “In my view it should not be easy to do something as massive change your gender,” she said. “And the law is there to protect us, normally from other people, but also sometimes from ourselves. I think many people have profound concerns about this.”

Asked why Justine Greening was pursuing this agenda, she replied: “Exactly. I have no... well people can have lots of theories. I don’t know. I wouldn't like to impute motives to her but what I would like to say though is that it is profoundly unconservative and conservative with a big C and small C implies continuity with what has gone before.

Pressed further on whether she was suggesting Ms Greening’s sexuality and personal experience was affecting the policy of the Government, Ms Douglas replied: “It’s a possibility.”

She continued: "But I’m not going to suggest anything I don’t know. I don’t know Justine personally at all but the bigger issue here is not who is introducing, or considering introducing this policy, but the implications of the policy itself."

Ms Greening used the Pride event in London in 2016 to announce she was in a same-sex relationship, becoming the first openly gay woman to hold cabinet office.

Also appearing on the programme, Maria Miller, the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee in Westminster and Conservative MP, however, added: “Look, the Conservatives, or the Conservative party, have been tackling equality issues since they came into government in 2010 – most notably the equal marriage act. We really led the way on that

“I think what Justine Greening has announced with regards to updating the Gender Recognition Act is something that many people, including medics, will welcome because the current system is woefully out of date and medicalises a system that should be very administrative and personal. The justification is clear, it’s out of date.”

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