The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has hit out at the “cruel and often hostile” debate surrounding the rights of trans and non-binary people.
Drakeford, who was presented with a chief executive’s award during the Trans in the City awards, used his speech to reaffirmed his very clear stance.
At the gala held on Monday evening (14 November), the Welsh government was handed the award for their work on delivering its LGBTQ+ Action Plan.
“We want Wales to be a nation where everyone feels free, supported and safe to live their lives as they would choose to do so,” he said upon receiving the accolade.
“We must avoid plunging further into the cruel and often hostile debate” – Mark Drakeford
According to PinkNews, Drakeford said: “We believe we must behave with respect and kindness, and we must avoid plunging further into the cruel and often hostile debate surrounding the rights of trans and non-binary people.”
Last year he told the Senedd: “My starting point is the same as Penny Mordaunt’s – the UK minister responsible at the time – who said that the UK government’s starting point was that transgender women are women. That’s my starting point in this debate.
“It is a difficult area where people feel very strongly on different sides of an argument, and an argument that divides people who agree on most other things.
He went on to add: “In such a potentially divisive issue, the responsibility of elected representatives is not to stand on the certainties of their own convictions, but instead to work hard to look for opportunities for dialogue, to find ways of promoting understanding rather than conflict, and to demonstrate respect rather than to look for exclusion.
“To me, inclusivity is absolutely what we should be aiming for here.”
Elsewhere, the Welsh government has recently outlined plans to redefine the definition of women in law to include trans women, under new planned laws.
The proposals were revealed last month in a leaked draft of the Gender Quotas Bill, which seeks to ensure a gender-balanced Senedd.
This would mean equal quotas set for men and women to run as political candidates for the Welsh government.
The draft bill also touches on including trans women within the female quota of candidates, which would be reflected in the proposed new law.
It also stated that a constituency returning officer would be unable to challenge or make inquiries in relation to a candidate’s identity.