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British prime minister backs transgender athletes ban

Boris Johnson made comments during Commonwealth meeting in Rwanda

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo by shganti777 via Bigstock)

During a break 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 transgender women athletes.

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

“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,” Johnson told reporters.

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.”

British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries 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 recognize. 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 trans policies.

Dorries will urge organizations 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 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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Boris Johnson to resign as British prime minister

Activists recently criticized ousted Conservative Party leader over transphobic comments

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Boris Johnson (Bigstock photo by shganti777)

Boris Johnson announced that it was time to step down as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister Thursday after his government was left disabled by a wave of resignations of senior officials and Cabinet officers fed up with what many publicly referred to as his “lack of integrity.”

Standing outside Number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the prime minster, on Thursday afternoon addressing reporters and others watching, Johnson said: “It is clearly now the will of the party that there should be a new leader. The process of choosing a new leader should begin now.”

The prime minister will step down as party leader today but hopes to stay as PM until fall to allow a leadership contest to be held and a successor appointed.

Johnson said the timetable for his departure and selection for the party’s new leader will be announced by a committee of senior Conservative MPs next Monday. A successor will likely be chosen by the end of August into early September.

“I have appointed a Cabinet to serve until a new leader in place,” the prime minister added, “I want to say to the millions of people who voted for us in 2019: Thank you for that incredible mandate, the biggest Tory majority since 1987.”

The BBC had reported that Johnson announced his plans to continue to serve as prime minister until the fall to allow a Tory leadership contest to take place in the summer, but many in his party including numerous Tory MPs called for him to resign immediately after more than 50 government ministers and aides quit his government as of Thursday morning.

The deputy chair of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs has joined colleagues calling for Johnson to be replaced as prime minister immediately.

Amid boos and an occasional cheer, a still pugnacious prime minister said it was his “duty and obligation” to stay on in his role. But he acknowledged that it was the time to step down.

Nus Ghani, an MP for Wealden, said Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab should take over from Johnson immediately on an interim basis.

The BBC said that Johnson came to the decision to step down after pressured by the fact his government was collapsing around him and he had lost nearly all support.

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former right-hand man turned nemesis, earlier urged Conservatives to remove him as prime minister Thursday tweeting a warning that if he is not removed there will be “carnage.” Cummings also noted that he supported the push to name Raab the interim prime minister.

Wednesday afternoon a former ally of the prime minister, openly gay Housing Minister Stuart Andrew, announced on Twitter that he had resigned.

“Our party, particularly our members and more importantly our great country, deserve better,” said Andrew. “Having a marginal seat I have seen the huge sacrifice our members make in volunteering considerable hours to campaign on our behalf and I cannot, in all good conscience, tolerate them having to defend the indefensible.”

Johnson survived multiple scandals including a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons, multiple investigations and a fine from police for his involvement in a series of law-breaking coronavirus pandemic lockdown parties.

However it was his denial of knowledge of the sexual assault allegations brought against Chris Pincher, the Tamworth MP who Johnson had elevated to a primary political position in the Conservative Party as deputy chief whip that ended up being the catalyst setting motion the multiple demands for his resignation and the departure of the more than 50 government ministers and officials.

The denial from Downing Street regarding accusations of sexual misconduct against Pincher and still appointing him to a critical role was ultimately the proverbial final straw.

As late as Wednesday Johnson was still defiant telling the House of Commons in remarks in the chamber, “The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances when he’s been handed a colossal mandate, is to keep going.”

PinkNewsUK notes that Johnson’s government had “promised a lot to the LGBTQ+ community.” This included a reformed Gender Recognition Act, a transgender-inclusive conversion therapy bill and a conference to celebrate the global LGBTQ community.

None of this happened. The government scrapped the GRA reforms, refused to protect trans people from its already-delayed conversion therapy ban and cancelled the “Safe to Be Me” conference after more than 100 LGBTQ groups pulled out in opposition to Johnson.

The prime minister also disparaged UK Trans athletes in answering a reporter’s question two weeks ago when he was asked 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.”

Under the Johnson and Tory-led government Britain, which led in the ILGA-Europe’s ranking of the most LGBTQ-friendly nations in Europe in 2014, now stands at number 14.

Johnson resigns:

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London Pride celebrates 50th anniversary

“Heartstopper” cast members troll anti-LGBTQ protesters

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"Heartstopper" actors troll anti-LGBTQ protestors at Pride in London 2022 (Screenshot/Twitter)

Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of Pride in London, the first was led by the Gay Liberation Front in 1972. According to the BBC more than a million people thronged the streets of the British capital, ranking it as one of the largest LGBTQ events in Europe.

In a Sunday interview with BBC Radio, Chris Joell-Deshields, director of London Pride, said it was important as it provided a great level of visibility for LGBTQ rights. 

“We’re able to provide that form of visibility, unity, quality, that the world can see and it sends a message of solidarity to those persons who may be thinking ‘I can’t be open’, ‘I can’t be visible or I’ll be prosecuted in my country,” he said.

“The battles have not all been won. Yes we’ve had some magnificent achievements, whether or not that’s equal marriage, the repeal of Section 28, the lifting of the ban of homosexuals and lesbians in the military, but we’ve still got a journey to go,” he told BBC Radio.

“Every day we’re continuing to have to fight for our trans people and making it a fair life for them. We’re still having to fight for those around the world who live in countries where they can’t be themselves,” Joell-Deshields added.

Reflecting on the masses gathered at Traflagar Square Joell-Deshields noted:

“Yesterday when we were in Trafalgar Square, and we were chanting ‘trans rights are human rights,’ we were pushing that so that volume of noise was heard at Downing Street and beyond, to the millions or people on the footprint and thousands on the parade.

“That sends a powerful message to politicians and others that we’re here, we’re proud and loud, and we’re going to continue to fight.

“And there’s the next generation coming along that we need to pass the mantel to. We want them to understand that the fight is not won, we have to continue and the pride platform is a great platform to do that.”

Screenshot/YouTube Pride in London live-stream

Echoing Joell-Deshields, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who was in attendance Saturday told PinkNewsUK the LGBTQ community and allies “can’t be complacent” in the fight for equality.

The Mayor stressed that it was important to celebrate the hard won rights that the UK’s LGBTQ+ community has fought for over the last 50 years including the “end of Section 28”, the introduction of same sex marriage and the approval of “laws to protect this community.”

He then pivoted and warned there is still a “lot of campaigning” to be done in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at an LGBTQ venue in Oslo, Norway, as well as attacks against the trans community in the U.K. 

“People in this community have been able to be open and successful, thriving — but also recognize that we can’t be complacent,” Khan said. “There is still a lot of campaigning to be done.”

He continued: “This time last week we saw in Oslo members of this community being attacked — two being killed, many others being injured. 

“We’ve seen trans people in this country being used as pawns by politicians and others in a culture war. 

“So of course, we’ve got to continue protesting, continue campaigning, continue trying to make progress but also celebrate the progress we’ve made,” the mayor said.

Screenshot/YouTube Pride in London live-stream

Joining in to march in parade were cast members of the Netflix hit LGBTQ drama series “Heartstopper” including lead actors Kit Connor and Joe Locke, and castmates Jenny Walser, Sebastian Croft, Tobie Donovan, Corinna Brown and Kizzy Edgell.

Alice Oseman the author, illustrator, screenwriter and executive producer of Heartstopper tweeted:

At one point in the parade the cast stopped and trolled some anti-LGBTQ street pastors spouting inflammatory hate speech. Actors Joe Locke, who plays Charlie Spring and Sebastian Croft who plays Ben, can be seen jumping up and down dancing as they displayed their non-verbal disapproval of the protestors bullhorn-delivered messaging. Kit Connor who plays Nick Nelson noted in a Twitter post:

 

A video, shared on Twitter by Sky News journalist Scott Beasley, showed the actors waving the middle finger and loudly singing along to Whitney Houston’s hit “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” in front of the street preachers.

PinkNewsUK reported that elsewhere in the parade, Connor carried Locke on his back as they walked along the parade route behind a giant Pride flag. The scene was very reminiscent of a Heartstopper doodle that Alice Oseman created for Pride in 2019 that depicted Nick carrying Charlie, who was wearing a colorful flag, on his back.

Locke told the BBC that this was his first Pride ever and said it was “such an honor” to be celebrating “being queer when the world might not be so accepting”. 

“It’s very, very surreal for me,” he said.

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British prime minister panned as ‘disgrace’ in response to Pride message

Government cancelled conference after rights groups announced boycott

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Screenshot from YouTube/Twitter)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a video message on his official Twitter and YouTube platforms celebrating Pride Month in the U.K. Tuesday under the social hashtag of #WhyPridematters.

The prime minister said that he was “proud” at how many LGBTQ and intersex people have sought asylum in the U.K. from Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control of the country. However, within literal minutes he was promptly criticized 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 and intersex community — transgender people in particular — according to activists and the largest LGBTQ and intersex advocacy group, Stonewall UK.

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

One of Johnson’s top ministers, Liz Truss, was accused of using LGBTQ and intersex 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 criticized for her appointments to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and her defenses of “gender critical” views.

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

Canadian LGBTQ and intersex 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 LGBTQ and intersex 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 and intersex people 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 U.K. 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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