Equalities Minister, Liz Truss at Conservative Party Conference 2021 Holding a “I Pledge to be an Ally to the LGBT+ Community. “Image: @thekieranaldred
Minister tor Equalities, Liz Truss faced widespread criticism this weekend following her speech attacking the use of pronouns at the Conservative Party’s Spring Conference held in Blackpool.
At Conservative Party Conference in 2021, Truss was pictured holding a banner in front of the LGBT+ Conservatives stall saying “I pledge to be an ally to the LGBT+ Community.” Her speech at the Blackpool conference this weekend has been widely criticised as a broken promise to the trans and non-binary communities.
The question most mainstream Conservatives are asking is whether this represents a shift away from centre-ground values that underpinned the introduction of equal marriage.
Ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech on the main stage, Truss said: “Now is the time to end the culture of self-doubt, the constant self-questioning and introspection, the ludicrous debates about language, statues and pronouns.
“Our history, warts and all, makes us what we are today.
“We live in a great country; a great democracy and we should be proud of it.”
In a clumsy speech that was supposed to highlight her commitment to promoting freedoms, she instead went on a rant that attacked measures designed to promote personal liberties and freedoms.
There was widespread criticism on social media, leading to an online campaign to include pronouns on social media.
Speaking to Chamber about the Equalities Minister’s speech, Conservative Party LGBTQ membership body, LGBT+ Conservatives said “we believe how you define yourself and who you are should be respected. The use of pronouns is not only polite, but something that can make someone feel valid and accepted. This is something we’ve always supported and will continue to do so. If someone says their name is Dave, what right or authority do we have to tell them they’re wrong. The same applies with pronouns.”
Former European Parliament candidate and Chair of the Conservative Women’s Organisation for North and East Yorkshire, Sue Pascoe said “Personal freedom and expression are core Conservative values. As are being courteous and treating all people with respect and dignity. Using the correct Pronouns for each other is easy, polite and stops any potential discrimination.”
In a recent feature for Chamber, Pascoe called for the Conservative Party not forget their ‘centrist’ values.
Former Women and Equalities Select Committee Member and chair of the LGBT+ Commission, Ben Howlett said “for someone that self identifies as a libertarian, Liz Truss’ comments at the conference sounded very state interventionist to me.
“In a speech that was supposed to be about championing freedom, it is right that her comments have been criticised as out of step.
“I suspect the next time she turns up to the next Conservative Party Conference Pride Reception for a photoshoot, (she/her) will be greeted with a frosty reception.”
The Government is due to host the Safe to be me conference in June this year, hosting world leaders to promote equality and inclusivity for all LGBT+ people. Following the withdrawal of various LGBT charities from the conference due to the anti-trans statements coming from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Foreign Secretary’s comments come at a bad time for organisers.
Should a leadership opportunity open-up, was this a clumsy attempt to woo the right of the party, or was it an ideological re-positioning by the Minister for Equalities?
Either way the speech backfired for Liz Truss.
Whatever your opinion of the speech – poorly delivered, ideologically conflicted, or just plain nasty – Liz Truss is making the Conservative Party look ‘nasty’ again.
Most importantly, Liz Truss pretends to be the ideologically libertarian darling of the Conservative Party, however, when the speech attacking the use of pronouns was delivered – the emperor was wearing new state interventionist, socially Conservative clothes.
Clearly, it looks terrible for a politician to pretend to be an ally – especially when the hold a banner only a few months before.
Listen to the statement by LGBT+ Conservatives – if Dave wants to be called Dave, then why should the state get involved? Truss pretends to be libertarian when it suits – we all know what this is called and it’s not a good look for a would-be leadership contender…