London mayor Sadiq Khan has come out swinging for trans rights amid Boris Johnson’s repeated potshots against them.
On Saturday afternoon (9 April), the Labour politician joined local council candidates in Higham Hill, a suburb in the northeast borough of Waltham Forest.
He joined the likes of Kira Lewis, who’s hoping to become Waltham Forest Council’s first trans, non-binary councillor, for a campaign even with grassroots campaign group Labour Doorstep.
“I have the privilege of representing the most diverse city in the world,” Khan said at Higham Hill Park, “and I know how heartbreaking it has been for many Londoners about how some politicians and many people in the media talk about the trans community.
“I’m quite clear that trans rights are human rights, and I’m also quite clear that here in London you’re free to be who you want to be.
“You’re not simply tolerated, you’re respected, you’re celebrated and you’re embraced. That’s going to be the case as long as I’m the mayor.”
So proud to be out today in Higham Hill, where I’m standing, with @SadiqKhan!
Sadiq is clear – trans people deserve happiness and safety across London.
— Kira Lewis (@kira_millana) April 9, 2022
Khan’s unwavering support comes against a troubling time to be trans in Britain today. Prime minister Johnson’s government has taken repeated aims at trans people’s already threadbare rights in recent weeks, coincidentally coming behind the government being rocked by scandal after scandal.
Following two dizzying U-turns, ministers walked back on a years-long campaign pledge to ban all forms of conversion therapy. While lawmakers will outlaw gay conversion therapy, trans people will not be covered.
Johnson then described trans rights as “novel” and something he has never really had to think about, before giving his unsolicited opinions on everything from trans women in sports and single-sex spaces. He also doubled down on his decision to bar trans people from the conversion therapy ban.
It came after health secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News that the government is “absolutely right” in banning conversion therapy “for LGB people”.
“Is it a genuine case of gender identity dysphoria,” Javid said, “or could it be that that individual is suffering from some child sex abuse, for example, or could it be linked to bullying?”
So for many, including Labour’s LGBT+ wing, Sadiq Khan‘s wholehearted support for trans rights was a breath of fresh air.
— LGBT+ Labour (@LGBTLabour) April 9, 2022
— Louie Marlow (@louiemarlow) April 9, 2022
Fantastic to see the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan supporting the trans and non-binary communities.
Demonstrably showing a benefit of the Mayoral model in terms of the leadership it gives.
— Kaz Self (she/her) #IStandWithUkraine (@SelfKaz) April 9, 2022
“Sadiq is clear,” Lewis wrote, “trans people deserve happiness and safety across London.”