Where does Reform UK stand on trans rights?

Ahead of the general election, voters may be wondering where Reform UK stands on trans rights.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak surprised most political pundits last week when he called a snap general election for 4 July, which, if polls are to believed, could spell disaster for the Tories, who have been in power since 2010. The party suffered major losses in the recent local elections while Labour racked up a string of by-election victories.

LGBTQ+ issues – mainly transgender rights – look set to be one of the key battlegrounds in the six weeks of campaigning, with Lee Anderson, then a Tory MP, saying in February 2023 that to retain their majority, the Conservatives must fight a “mix of culture wars and trans debate”.

A year later, after making controversial comments about London mayor Sadiq Khan on GB News, he had the whip removed and defected to Reform.

PinkNews has previously asked the main political parties about their commitments to trans rights, with mixed results.

Here is where right-wing populist party Reform UK stands.

Richard Tice is leading Reform UK into July’s general election. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The party’s policy document, “Our contract with you“, states that it is not just “another manifesto” but “sets out the reforms that Britain needs in the first 100 days following a general election, and thereafter”.

The document contains a vow to ban “transgender ideology”, a term used as an anti-trans dog whistle, in primary and secondary schools.

“There are two sexes and two genders,” the policy declares. “It is a dangerous safeguarding issue to confuse children by suggesting otherwise… no gender questioning, social transitioning or pronoun swapping, inform parents of under-16s about their children’s life decisions. Schools must have single-sex facilities.”

Public toilets and changing areas must provide single-sex facilities, the document goes on to say.

In the unlikely event of the party winning power, they would also oversee a review of the Online Safety Bill.

“Social media giants that push baseless transgender ideology and divisive critical race theory should have no role in regulating free speech,” the policy insists.

Where does Reform UK stand on equalities law?

A number of points in the policy document outline how Reform UK would overhaul equalities law more widely, including the country leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the 2010 Equality Act being replaced and a change in the definition of a hate crime.

The reason given for the decision to leave the ECHR is that “British laws and judges must never be overruled by a foreign court” and “we must be free to deport those we consider a threat to our country”.

The policy also states UK courts must be “able to protect British citizens from EU arrest warrants”.

Reform UK believe the Equality Act – which enshrines protections against various forms of discrimination – costs the economy billions of pounds and “has become a lawyer’s charter to print money”. If in power, the party would also scrap all equality, diversity and inclusion roles.

Turning to hate crimes, the policy claims the definition used by the Crown Prosecution Service and the police has led to bias.

“Members of the British public must not be investigated because ‘any’ person ‘perceives’ a hate crime has been committed. Proper evidence must be required.”

The document also calls for the enforcement of existing laws to “stop violent, hate demonstrations such as the free-Palestine marches”.

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