Newshound: Lib Dem peer Baroness Barker challenges the Lords on transgender issues

Yesterday afternoon, Baroness Barker spoke on the Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Bill.

It was a short and powerful statement on how minority groups have been discriminated against, ignored and marginalised in past decades. That was “what happened to migrant communities in the UK in the 1970s and, in the 1980s, it was lesbians and gay men.” Today, she said, it is the turn of trans people.

She reminded the house that when it was debating changing the law to allow gay adoption or enable civil partnerships, they received “dodgy dossiers” purporting to be research from lobby groups.

This is familiar territory Baroness Barker said:

“Because powerful campaigns have common characteristics and patterns. A classic campaign identifies a minority group – preferably one about which the majority population knows little – ascribes to it characteristics and motivations which make it a threat and repeats those assertions, preferably with the backing of a neutral body or experts, over and over until they become received wisdom…

There is no evidence, and no evidence has yet been offered, that trans people are a systemic and significant threat to women…

“As a lesbian who lived through Section 28 , I know what it is like to be portrayed as a member of a group that constitutes a threat to women, children and families – it was unsafe to let us into changing rooms, because we could pose a threat… That was an experience of classic homophobia, often expressed in exactly the same arguments and phrases as we hear today.”

The full debate including Baroness Barker’s speech can be read in Hansard.

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  • A passionate speech. But it would be useful to know what exactly it is that she is referencing. The Hansard record is quite long, and the bit I’ve read so far isn’t clear on what the Bill is (I know the title is there) or what the issues are.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Feb '21 - 5:01pm

    Excellent from Baroness Barker.

    The awfulness of section 28 was it was the State against a minority. Now those who , as she explains, use similar arguments that equally denigrate a minority, it is not with or because of or supported by a draconian, mean, wretched, new law.

    Thankfully government, even Tory, and most parties, are more open minded and liberal about issues.

    But not all individuals are….!

  • A powerful speech – but it was not relevant to what was being debated.

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