Queer Britain

What LGBTQ+ Citizens Can Expect from Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet

Rishi Sunak has officially taken over as Prime Minister for the UK. On October 25, Sunak announced his cabinet appointments, and while the administration will hopefully be focused on repairing the dire economic situation, several of the new cabinet members have expressed concerning anti-LGBTQ+ stances.

One of the most brow-raising appointments (re-appointment, in this case) is Suella Braverman. Braverman previously became the shortest serving Home Secretary in modern history after she was forced to resign for sending an official document through her personal email. Barely a week after her resignation, Sunak reinstated her.

Braverman has regularly attacked LGBTQ+ rights, and she has already indicated that she wants Sunak to take action against trans kids. “We need to take a firm line on trans ideology in our schools and in our public sector for the safeguarding of our children cannot be compromised,” she wrote in The Telegraph on Sunday, endorsing Sunak for Conservative Party leader. “I am reassured that Rishi understands the enormity of these problems and will not shy away from making the hard decisions needed to fix them,” she added.

Other candidate members have a concerning track record on LGBTQ+ rights, PinkNews reports. Dominic Raab will return as Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary. In the latter capacity, he has advocated for housing prisoners by their “genitalia,” putting trans prisoners at risk of violence.

Thérèse Coffey is now the Environment Secretary. In her former role as Health Secretary, she was often criticized for her failure to secure ample supplies of monkeypox vaccines. She has also made a point of reiterating her opposition to same-sex marriage, nearly a decade after it was legalized.

Ben Wallace is continuing on as Defense Secretary. He has a long history of anti-LGBTQ stances that include opposing same-sex marriage and the inclusion gay soldiers in the military.

Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed as Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio. In his former role as Equalities Minister, he floated the idea of reviving legislation like Section 28, which outlawed the “promotion of homosexuality” by public officials and teachers throughout the 90s. During his campaign for office, he pledged,  “I will also continue to focus on letting children be children, protecting them from damaging and inappropriate nonsense being forced on them by radical activists.” This was interpreted by activists as an anti-trans dog whistle.

Fortunately, it is not all bad news for LGBTQ+ Britons under conservative leadership. Jeremy Hunt is continuing on as Chancellor, and he has defended the rights of trans minors when it comes to accessing gender-affirming healthcare. James Cleverly is staying on Foreign Secretary, and he has consistently supported LGBTQ+ rights throughout his career.

Sunak’s role as Prime Minister comes amidst the historic constant turnover of prime ministers ever since 2016’s Brexit fiasco, and it is important to point out that he was not elected by popular vote. The UK’s last general election took place in 2019. The date of the next general election has not yet been announced but is likely to take place after 2024.

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