Tory MP slammed for response to Labour’s Trans Day of Visibility post

'Not sure attacking solidarity for a minority community facing abuse is quite the message of gratitude to Jesus for his sacrifice so that we may live in renewed hope'

Brendan Clarke-Smith

Since 2009, Transgender Day of Visibility has been recognised to celebrate trans and non-binary people and to raise awareness of the discrimination they face around the world. 

This year the day it always falls on, March 31st, also happened to be Easter Sunday, which led to unwanted attention from right-wing politicians who interpreted the celebration of Trans Visibility Day as an attack on Easter. 

Highlighting how trans people constantly find themselves at the heart of the political culture wars, Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith took it upon himself to use the Labour Party’s post about the day as a chance to undermine support for the trans community. 

The Labour Party posted a message on X which read, “Today on Trans Day of Visibility, and always, Labour stands with trans people.” 

In response, the Tory MP for Bassetlaw shared the post on X and wrote: “Easter Sunday. 

“It’s on us to give people a reason to vote for a Conservative government and not simply argue ‘well the alternative is a lot worse’. But the prospect of these clowns running this country should fill any sensible person with absolute horror.

“We can’t let it happen.”

Community notes were swiftly added below his post, pointing out that Trans Day of Visibility falls on 31st March every year, while Easter Sunday hasn’t fallen on 31st March since 2013, and won’t again until 2086. It also stated how Labour’s account had already wished a Happy Easter on a separate post. 

His reaction was met with a barrage of criticism, with Labour MP Jess Phillips blasting back: “Seriously mate what is wrong with you? Let me tell you what people in the UK hate…spiralling bills, lying chancers, shit in rivers, waiting, years for a medical referral. Take your inability to hold more than one thing in your tiny brain to the electorate.” 

While another X user wrote: “Morning Bren, are you making the argument here, that recognising and respecting an extremely vulnerable minority is somehow worse than trampling on them in order to gain short-term political leverage?”

Labour MP Stella Creasy reacted: “If he wants to ‘defend’ Easter maybe Brendan needs to spend more time learning about it than hating others.

“Not sure attacking solidarity for a minority community facing abuse is quite the message of gratitude to Jesus for his sacrifice so that we may live in renewed hope.”

Tory MPs have been accused of transphobia on numerous occasions, most recently the Conservative Party’s deputy chair for women. However the Labour Party’s record on supporting trans rights has also been under criticism after its u-turn on trans self-ID and Keir Starmer being accused of pandering to the Murdoch press when it comes to gender reforms.

In England and Wales, 0.5% of the population reported having a gender identity different from the one they were assigned at birth, but shockingly two in five trans people reported a hate crime committed against them in 2018, the charity Stonewall found.

Latest Home Office figures showed a 186% rise in transphobic hate crime reports in England and Wales between 2018 – 2023, rising at a faster rate than any other group. The Home Office’s own report acknowledged that, ‘transgender issues have been heavily discussed by politicians, the media and on social media over the last year, which may have led to an increase in these offences’. 

The UK’s biggest trade union Unison published resources for supporting trans rights at work to mark the day of visibility, while others shared their support online in celebration of the trans and non-binary community, for example Stonewall’s post on the value and joy visibility can bring.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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