Belgian transgender deputy PM urges Sunak not to join ‘the real bullies’

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Belgian transgender deputy PM urges Sunak not to join ‘the real bullies’

Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister, Petra De Sutter, one of the most prominent transgender politicians in Europe, has called on Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, not to side with “the real bullies.” This comes in response to Sunak’s comments at the Conservative party conference where he stated, “We shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be.” He further added, “A man is a man and a woman is a woman. That’s just common sense.”

These remarks from Sunak were made public around the same time when reports highlighted a significant increase in hate crimes against transgender individuals in England and Wales. The Home Office suggested that this 11% rise might be influenced by statements from politicians and the media.

Petra De Sutter, who made history as Europe’s first openly transgender minister, took to social media to express her disappointment with Sunak’s comments. She emphasized that such statements contribute to the rise in transphobia and put many lives at risk globally. She asserted, “Trans women are women. And in no way a threat to others. Don’t join the real bullies, Rishi Sunak.”

De Sutter, who also has a background in medicine and is a professor of gynaecology, assumed the role of Deputy Prime Minister in Belgium in 2020.

Many believe that Sunak’s comments are a strategic move to engage more deeply in cultural debates, especially since his party is lagging in the polls with an upcoming election.

The Conservative party conference in Manchester witnessed other controversial moments. Suella Braverman criticized the “gender ideology,” leading to a significant incident where a prominent Conservative member was removed after accusing the home secretary of homophobia and transphobia.

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Andrew Boff, a gay former leader of the Tories in City Hall, expressed his concerns, stating that Braverman was essentially attacking gay and trans individuals by opposing LGBT or gender ideologies.

The conference also featured Steve Barclay, the Health Secretary, who announced plans to prohibit transgender patients in England from receiving treatment in gender-specific wards. This decision faced backlash from moderate Conservative MPs, who felt that the LGBTQ+ community was being unfairly targeted to cater to the party’s right-wing faction.

Jamie Wallis, who became the first openly transgender MP last year, expressed his hopes for more constructive problem-solving in the future.

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