Skip to main content

Home News News Politics

Attitude editor Cliff Joannou pens open letter to PM Rishi Sunak over trans joke made in front of Brianna Ghey’s mum

"You owe trans people - and the wider LGBTQ+ community - an apology"

By Cliff Joannou

Attitude editor Cliff Joannou and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Attitude editor Cliff Joannou and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday, during Prime Ministers Question Time, PM Rishi Sunak made a joke about trans women in front of Esther Grey – the mother of Brianna Ghey, a trans teen who was murdered last year in a “frenzied” hate crime.

Here, Attitude editor Cliff Joannou responds to Sunak’s remarks and calls for an apology.

Open letter to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Days after Brianna Ghey’s killers were named, you thought it would be appropriate to use trans women as a means by which to score points against the Opposition, ridiculing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on the “definition of a woman” while the murdered teenager’s mother was present in the Houses of Parliament attending a debate on mindfulness in school.

Your actions at Prime Minister’s Questions were belligerent and irresponsible. Even many of your own Conservative MPs have stated that you were out of touch.

The fact is, according to your own Government’s Census 2021, trans people make up just 0.55% of the British population. They are not a threat to society. Using trans people as a political weapon to divert from the failures of government is shameful. 

If you took the time to meet the trans community, you would understand they want to work and contribute to society, create a home and life like all of us, and to live without fear of reprisal.

Your comments aren’t just words. As Prime Minister, your words have power. They are used to speak on behalf of your government to the people of the United Kingdom, they are used to draft legislation, and can be used to unite or divide. When used carelessly, they are dehumanising and can embolden people to acts to violence against trans people. Acts that can lead to murder, such as a young teenage girl being stabbed 28 times during a “frenzied” attack in Warrington’s Culcheth Linear Park on 11 February 2023.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom should be better than this. They should be a beacon of freedom and unity, not the kind of divisive politics that has become prevalent in Westminster.

In the same way that politicians spoke in similarly disparaging ways about gay men in decades past, one day you will be reminded of your words and actions, and you will be ashamed.

You owe trans people – and the wider LGBTQ+ community – an apology. 

We are waiting.

Cliff Joannou