Pride: New UK special envoy on LGBT+ rights Lord Herbert admits worries of 'culture war' over trans rights

·2-min read

The UK's new special envoy on LGBT+ rights has admitted he is "worried about a culture war" and suggested the need for more support for transgender people.

Conservative peer Lord Herbert of South Downs, who was appointed to the role by Boris Johnson last month, said trans individuals are facing "really quite serious discrimination" and urged ministers to provide people with the "protection of the state".

Lord Herbert, who was the first gay man to be elected to a Conservative seat, added that while great strides have been made on LGBT+ rights in the UK, "not as much progress has been made" with regards to trans people.

Speaking on Sky News's Daily podcast to mark June being Pride month, the UK's special envoy on LGBT+ rights said he believes his new position is "a reflection of the importance that the prime minister attaches to these issues".

The former Tory MP also confirmed that the green light has been given for the UK to host an international LGBT+ conference next June, which will bring activists, politicians, experts and ministers together to discuss how individuals' rights can be further advanced.

"I am worried about a culture war and that being played on actually either side, and I'm very worried about where that leaves trans people who can be very vulnerable, who I think needs support and the protection of the state," said Lord Herbert.

"And I do think that they can face really quite serious discrimination - and perhaps this is an area where not as much progress has been made in terms of public attitudes as other aspects of LGBT equality."

He added: "I very much reject any kind of culture war in this area."

Lord Herbert also suggested that homophobic laws in other Commonwealth countries may often be a legacy of Britain's colonial past.

"Well, firstly, I think we have to recognise that there are 35 countries that in the Commonwealth that still criminalise homosexual conduct," he said.

"And actually, you know, very often the laws that they have were a legacy of Britain's colonial past.

"So I think we have to be kind of mindful of our own position here and also respectful of the journey that other countries have to make."

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