Gary Powell is a former councillor in Buckinghamshire and is the European Special Consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture, California
Opposition to gender ideology has become a key issue in the Conservative Party leadership contest. That is an encouraging development. After all, we are even now seeing our failing and increasingly woke police forces commit outrages against freedom of speech, making ordinary citizens vulnerable to harassment and arrest. It is astonishing to observe police forces becoming the military wings of Stonewall UK. On the Conservative watch.
Both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have made robust assurances in their leadership campaigns with regard to protecting women’s sex-based rights against gender ideology. This is increasingly being recognised as a serious issue.
Indeed, it certainly looks as though Penny Mordaunt was hoist by her own LGBT+ petard following, inter alia, her ill-judged “transwomen are women” statement at the despatch box. Gender ideology seems to have claimed Mordaunt as its first major political casualty. If only five of the MPs who voted for Liz Truss had instead voted for Mordaunt, then Mordaunt and Sunak would have been on the members’ ballot.
Which of the two head-to-head candidates is most likely to stand up for the rights of women, children, and gay people, and steer the Conservative Party away from the destructive woke sirens of the Left?
In these pages, before the May local government elections, I wrote a piece that encouraged Conservative candidates to protect women’s right to single-sex spaces and services.
As explained in that article, local authorities are empowered to make decisions that can have a highly detrimental impact on women, children, and gay people, where those councils have fallen under the influence of Stonewall UK and other gender lobby organisations. The government urgently needs to get a grip on what is happening in local authorities and ensure that both child safeguarding and women’s sex-based rights enjoy the protections they deserve. Dare we hope that our next Prime Minister will banish the promotion and dominance of gender ideology from both local and national government?
The Telegraph has published a piece comparing the views of Sunak and Truss on some of the key electoral issues, including their stated positions on gender ideology.
Sunak’s earlier starting point did not augur at all well. In an interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer for TalkTV, he was asked, “What is a woman?”. His answer:
“The PM answered this perfectly. I agree with him.”
He was pressed hard to give his own answer, in his own words, and was asked whether a woman is “an adult human female”. But he wasn’t budging. He wouldn’t answer that simple question, or even repeat what Boris Johnson had said that he agreed with. Crikey, I thought: what a scaredy-cat.
Perhaps the trauma of seeing Mordaunt’s inexorable demise for using the Stonewall Lexicon to define “woman” was enough to shock Sunak into one of those impressive Saul of Tarsus transformations. In any case, he has now become far more willing to say things that will put him in the naughty-book of Stonewall, Pink News, and the assorted Parliamentary Wokesters. He has since said:
“The fact that we have to have a conversation about what a woman is, is quite frankly extraordinary. As a parent of two young girls and married to one, I know exactly what a woman is. We don’t need to have a debate about it. I am going to stand up for women’s rights, whether it is the language that people are now trying to erase from public life, access to changing rooms, sports – we need to stand up for women’s rights. It is not bigoted or somehow narrow-minded to say that.”
Sunak has also pledged a “Manifesto of Women’s Rights”, and he has promised to protect the terms “man”, “woman” and “mother”, accusing the Equality Act 2010 of promoting “woke nonsense” and left-wing activists of “brainwashing, vandalism and finger-pointing” over “woke” issues. Now, that’s the kind of Sunak I like to see.
By contrast, Truss’s starting position was a proven track-record for defending women’s and girls’ rights against gender ideology. In fact, Truss even seems to have a lot of admirers from the anti-woke Left for her longstanding opposition to gender extremism. Kemi Badenoch enjoys a similar fan base from the intelligent Left, for similar reasons.
The Telegraph refers to Truss’s disapproval of the “ludicrous debates about pronouns” and notes the actions she took as Equalities Minister to prevent a reform in the law that would have enabled people to legally change their “gender” without a medical diagnosis: something that would have potentially given any middle-aged man with male genitalia legally-protected access to the same changing room as women and girls, so long as he had gone to the trouble of changing his “gender” via self-identification. We can thank Truss for saving us all from that horror.
For some time, Truss has publicly aligned herself with feminist campaigners who defend the sex-based rights of women, including Labour MP Rosie Duffield, whose crime-think became crime-speak when she dared to say:
“Only women have a cervix.”
Truss’s pledge to wage a war on Civil Service waste is reported to include a reduction in the number of Civil Service Diversity Officers, of which there are currently (trigger warning to all taxpayers) at least 326. No exact figure for the reduction seems to have been given, but let’s hope the number is reduced to zero.
While Boris Johnson was still planning the 2022 “Safe To Be Me” Global LGBT+ Equality Conference (now mercifully cancelled), Truss was calling for all Government departments to withdraw from Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Scheme. It is to her credit that she openly called for this while the Prime Minister was still indulging the LGBT+ lobby.
In her Sunday Times piece of July 30th, Badenoch revealed how Government officials had discouraged and impeded her attempts to establish the truth about the GIDS clinic at the Tavistock, which is to be shut down after an NHS review found it is “not safe” for children. Badenoch pushed back against this resistance, and she pays tribute to Truss for her support: “I could not have done anything without being empowered by my senior minister, Truss, to challenge advice, meet whoever was relevant and do my job as I saw fit. Not everyone is that lucky.” Truss echoed this same spirit in her August 1st message to Conservative Party members, where she stated:
“I will stand up for free speech and protect single-sex spaces for our young women.”
Who to vote for? For many of us, opposition to gender ideology is a necessary condition for meriting a vote, even if it isn’t a sufficient one. Both candidates are saying the right things. My own vote will be going to Liz Truss, given that she has been speaking out and acting on this issue long before any leadership contest arose. She has proven her mettle as someone who will resist being dictated to by Stonewall or its Whitehall acolytes. Whoever wins, our next Prime Minister will be watched closely, expected to deliver on their promises, and held to account if they fall short.