LGBTQ+ community calls on new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for support

Amidst a tumultuous few months in UK politics, Rishi Sunak is to be appointed the new Prime Minister. The question is, will he deliver on his promise to make the UK "the safest and greatest country in the world to be LGBT+”?

Headshot of Rishi Sunak, the new UK Prime Minister smiling.
Image: @ravikishann via Twitter

Following Penny Mordaunt’s decision to pull her candidacy for leader of the UK Conservative party, it has been confirmed that Rishi Sunak is to be appointed the next Prime Minister after he meets with King Charles.

Although it has not been confirmed when the meeting will take place, it is expected that he will officially be appointed tomorrow morning.

Sunak’s appointment will see him become the fifth party leader since the Torys came to power in 2010.

In a statement released on the LGBT+ Conservative website in July this year, during his leadership contest against Liz Truss, Sunak stated that he wanted the UK “to be the safest and greatest country in the world to be LGBT+”. He also vowed that the party would end “new HIV transmissions by 2030”, address “instances of hate crime”, and foster “a more tolerant, accepting society”.

On the question of how he would tackle the rising problem of transphobia within the party, he unequivocally stated, “Prejudice against trans people is wrong. The Conservative Party is an open, welcoming family to everybody across society, no matter who they are and irrespective of their background.”


However, during a leadership hustings in August, when asked if he believes a Trans woman is a woman, he decisively responded, “no.” This declaration also aligned more closely with answers he gave during an interview with Mumsnet in April.

During the interview, he began by saying that although he believed that Trans people deserve “respect”, he felt, “when it comes to questions like toilets or sports, you know, I’m of the view that biology is important, it’s fundamental, it’s critical to how we approach those types of questions”.

Following the news that Mr Sunak would be appointed as the next Prime Minister, LGBTQ+ rights activist and former government advisor Jayne Ozanne reached out to congratulate him. 

In doing so, she called upon him to rebuild relationships with the LGBTQ+ community, especially to consider including Trans people in the anti-conversion therapy ban and to review sending LGBTQ+ asylum seekers to Rwanda.

In an interview with Pink News, she said, “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.”

She continued, “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.”

Assuming Sunak can withstand calls for a general election, resulting from disruptions in Tory party leadership, a failing economy, and escalating housing and fuel crises, he will no doubt face substantial pressure from other lobby groups to protect LGBTQ+ rights and roll back many of the harmful decisions of his recent predecessors.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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