Metro Weekly

Gay lawmaker blames Trump for Britain feeling ‘less safe’ for LGBTQ people

Labour MP Chris Bryant said Boris Johnson's government was taking cues from Trump's focus on culture wars

Donald Trump
Donald Trump — Photo: Gage Skidmore

A gay British lawmaker has blamed former U.S. president Donald Trump for making him feel “less physically safe” as an LGBTQ person.

Chris Bryant, a Member of Parliament (MP) for the opposition Labour Party, accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party of adopting Trump’s populist and culture war-focused approach to governance.

That, Bryant said, had inevitably led to LGBTQ people being targeted — as they repeatedly were under the Trump administration.

“They’ve learned this trick in America from Trump,” Bryant told BBC podcast Political Thinking. “In the end, culture wars will always pick on those who are slightly different and that means the gays, the Jews and the Blacks.”

Bryant added: “That’s always the list that crops up whenever a populist government gets into power.”

Political Thinking host Nick Robinson asked Bryant for specific examples of culture war policies, leading the gay lawmaker to call out the government’s dithering approach to banning conversion therapy.

Johnson’s government had pledged to ban the harmful practice, which falsely claims to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity, but has wavered over the extent of such a ban.

Bryant also highlighted rising anti-transgender sentiment in the United Kingdom. Johnson’s health secretary, Sajid Javid, earlier this year claimed that “only women have a cervix,” erasing transgender people.

“There’s a world where people think it’s politically advantageous to stir that pot and that makes me genuinely fearful,” Bryant said.

“I’m not accusing the prime minister of being homophobic but I do feel less physically safe as a gay man than I did 30 years ago.”

In March, three LGBTQ people quit as government advisers and called out Johnson’s equalities ministers, saying they were “not committed to LGBT equality” and accusing them of acting “in appalling faith.”

Ellen Murray, executive director of TransgenderNI and one of the advisers who stepped down, telling the government to “drop the trans culture war.”

During his interview, Bryant said that while he felt less safe in Britain, he wasn’t “worrying I’m going to be gay-bashed.”

However, he noted rising levels of anti-LGBTQ crimes after a spate of attacks against gay people in England this year and said that homophobia was “a very strong part of people’s experience of modern Britain.”

Last month, a gay couple was punched, kicked, and beaten with a hammer after a group of men spotted them holding hands in Radcliffe, near Manchester.

It was the latest in a series of assaults on gay men in England, which has seen the number of reported homophobic hate crimes treble between 2015 and 2020 — although LGBTQ charities say the statistics are only the “tip of the iceberg,” BBC News reported last year.

Last month, a gay couple was brutally beaten by a gang of people outside of a gay nightclub in Basildon, a gay man was beaten in the face with a wine bottle for holding hands with another man in public, and another gay man was punched in the face so powerfully that he was knocked unconscious and required surgery to prevent him losing sight in one of his eyes.

In August, two gay men were left with multiple fractures after they were beaten unconscious by a gang of teenagers in a grocery store parking lot.

People took to the streets of Liverpool, one of England’s major cities, in June to protest a recent spate of anti-LGBTQ attacks in the city, with police increasing their patrols to try and combat the violence.

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Canada moves towards banning conversion therapy after historic vote

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