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LGBTQIA+ UK News Round-Up: November 2023

The only thing more disheartening than doomscrolling through Twitter and other news sites, is doing it when it’s cold and dark outside…especially when positive LGBTQIA+ news seems even more few and far between these days.

So, to give you time to make a nice hot brew in the morning instead - or start that dreaded Christmas present shopping you’ve been putting off - we’ve rounded up some of what we think are the most important LGBTQIA+ UK news highlights from November - including the good, the bad, and extraterrestrial…

There were new steps in the conversion therapy bill

While there was no mention of the important ban on conversion therapy that has been promised since 2018 in King Charles’ first speech, the bill has since been started in the House of Lords. It’s a small but hopeful step in the right direction to finally banning conversion therapy in the UK.

The UK was ranked as one of the worst places to be trans

According to a network of 200+ trans-rights organisations, the United Kingdom is one of the worst destinations in Europe and Central Asia to be transgender - perhaps unsurprising following Rishi Sunak’s anti-trans comments at the Tory conference in October. Not even the sacking of Suella Braverman who said people were ‘pretending to be gay’ to qualify for international refugee protection could dim the sad news.

Miriam Margoyles showed her support for the trans community on national TV…

As usual when it comes to politicians, the LGBTQIA+ community had to look elsewhere for trans support. Step in national treasure Miriam Margoyles who shared on The Graham Norton Show how easily using gender-neutral pronouns could make transgender people more comfortable. This comment was prefaced by Margoyles stating that “some people will say “we mustn’t talk about trans”, but “f**k that!”

… as did David Tennant, and the whole of Doctor Who

In the lead-up to Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, unwavering LGBTQIA+ ally (and the nation’s favourite Doctor) wore a trans-flag-themed TARDIS badge on The One Show and The Last Leg. This small act of solidarity with the trans community raised over £18,000 in badge sales for the LGBTQ+ homeless charity, AKT. 

The first episode in the three-part 60th-anniversary special also aired this month, with Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney taking centre stage as Donna’s trans daughter, Rose. Not only did ‘The Star Beast’ have some great positive trans representation (including Donna saying she would ‘burn down the world’ for her trans daughter and the normalisation of asking for people’s pronouns) but Rose’s transition also made up an integral part of the show’s storyline - demonstrating that everyone’s world would be a whole lot brighter with more trans people in it. 

The Brianna Ghey trial began in Manchester…

The trial of two teens charged with the murder of 16-year-old trans girl Brianna Ghey in February this year officially began in Manchester. Brianna’s horrific murder affected the whole LGBTQIA+ community who gathered in grief at vigils up and down the country in a stand against anti-trans violence and LGBTQIA+ hate crime in the UK. Her name also joined the list of those remembered on this year’s Trans Day of Remembrance.

… and the city received (and handed out) some LGBTQIA+ awards

Manchester was shortlisted for five awards ahead of the 2024 Gaydio Pride Awards, a night that celebrates the people and organisations dedicated to bettering the lives of LGBTQIA+ people in the UK. And the Village Bakers Manchester, an LGBTQ+ baking social group, held their annual Bake Off event, with Jon declared as official star baker!

Asexual activist, Yasmin Benoit, received fierce online backlash for her report outlining ace discrimination in the UK

The Stonewall report which looked at the experiences of ace people accessing healthcare and at work was met with a negative reaction by many of the British public who wrongly denied the existence of asexual discrimination; Yasmin Benoit has since said she will continue to fight for more awareness of the struggles faced by those who identify as asexual in the UK.

A Roman emperor was reclassified as a trans woman in a museum move to accurately represent past historical figures

Following positive new guidance on trans-inclusive practices in museums, galleries, archives and heritage sites by the University of Leicester’s Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, the British museum correctly reclassified emperor Elagabalus as a trans woman. Elagabalus’ pronouns were changed to she/her as a result of the classical text reporting the Roman ruler stated “Call me not Lord, for I am a Lady.”

A leak from the latest trans guidance for schools came with a possible risk for students who are not yet out

Speaking of changing pronouns, a leak from the latest draft of the government’s controversial trans guidance for UK schools revealed children would be allowed to change their name and pronouns in school - however, parents would be informed if their child chooses to do this. While this change is beneficial for trans kids who are already out at home, it could equally force the unwanted outing of many trans children. Not to mention the guidance still advises headteachers to maintain separate toilets and changing rooms for girls and boys. 

Trans Week of Awareness was somewhat bittersweet

November was the month of Trans Week of Awareness, a week dedicated to educating the public about trans and gender non-conforming lives. However, the week was somewhat bittersweet considering it was marked at the end by Trans Day of Remembrance. These adjoining events show that even though we’ve made some progress in UK trans rights, there’s still work to be done. 

Image of Tilly, a smiling woman with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Tilly Brogan

Tilly is a queer Freelance Copywriter based in Manchester. She balances her time between working  with LGBTQ+ organisations and women’s rights charities - and people watching in various Manchester cafes. She is also a proud lesbian. You can read more of her work here.

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