Kemi Badenoch criticised for turning down roundtable with LGBT+ charities 

01 Mar 2024 News

Official portrait of Kemi Badenoch

Chris McAndrew, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Minister for equalities Kemi Badenoch has been criticised for turning down a roundtable meeting with several LGBT+ charities.

The Peter Tatchell Foundation had offered to facilitate a roundtable discussion with organisations including Stonewall, Mermaids and the Terrence Higgins Trust.

However, Badenoch this week turned down the offer and replied that some organisations advocating for LGBT+ equality should consider “the wider impact of the critiques of this government”.

Last year, Badenoch said she had engaged “extensively” with LGBT+ organisations, but a freedom of information request showed she had two such meetings, with the groups Transgender Trend and Sex Matters. 

Neither Transgender Trend, which is “concerned about the current trend to diagnose children as transgender”, nor Sex Matters, which aims “to promote clarity about sex in law, policy and language”, are registered charities.

Badenoch: ‘Government is constantly attacked’

Badenoch responded to Peter Tatchell, director of the foundation, on Monday: “I will not be taking up your offer to facilitate a roundtable meeting. 

“More generally, I can perhaps usefully offer my own observation: that some organisations advocating for LGBT equality might consider the wider impact of the critiques of this government that they so readily provide.

“Of course, everyone has the right to voice their concerns and objections, but the manner in which this government is constantly attacked does not help create an environment for conducive dialogue. 

“In recent years I believe the constant efforts to undermine our work have seen us reach a place where criticism is given without any valuable insight, which I know [fellow equalities minister Stuart Andrew] and I always remain open to. 

“Despite this, I know that there are of course organisations that offer constructive and collaborative approaches to working with government, and with which we continue to maintain a good working relationship.”

Foundation: ‘This is a lost opportunity’

Tatchell said: “The government has had ample opportunity to engage with the main LGBT+ groups but it has not done so. The Peter Tatchell Foundation offered to facilitate a dialogue. I am saddened that our genuine offer of constructive engagement was refused.”

The former Labour Party politician said the organisations Badenoch had met were “not representative of the wider LGBT+ community”.

“Regrettably, reported instances of homophobic and transphobic hate crime are on the rise, propelled by often inflammatory, divisive and intolerant rhetoric, some of it coming from present and past government ministers and Conservative MPs,” he said.

“This is a lost opportunity. A joint discussion with Badenoch could have helped inform policy making and given useful input to the Conservative manifesto for the upcoming general election.”

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