Equalities Minister Mike Freer’s bumbling resignation as UK Government collapses

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Mike Freer has resigned from working under The Government Equalities Office as the Equalities Minister and was heavily involved with ill-fated #SafeToBeMe event.

In his resignation letter Mike Freer writes that he has been “grateful for the opportunity to create focus in exploiting our new exports markets and in working to try and improve the lives of LGBT+ people int he UK.” This despite the government’s complete failure to protect LGBT+ lives.

Mike Freer continues “However I feel that we are moving away from the One Nation Conservative party I joined, not least in creating an atmosphere of hostility for LGBT+ people and I regret I can no longer defend policies I fundamentally disagree with”. This comes after Mike Freer put an awful lot of effort into defending the government over #SafeToBeMe.

The event, originally scheduled for mid-June, was cancelled after over 100 LGBT organisations came together in-order to boycott #SafeToBeMe. This due to the government’s double u-turn on Conversion therapy bans; first not banning it at all and then second only banning it for sexuality but not gender identity. After the cancellation, Trans Activism UK organised a protest to take place on the same day.

Further in the letter Mike Freer writes; “I have to ask my self what Mrs Thatcher would have done. I have decided I must prioritise the diverse constituency of Finchley and Golders Green, One Nation conservatism, as well as my passion for equalities”. Which is honestly just an astounding statement to read to anyone familiar with the work of Mrs Thatcher.

Quite famously, Margaret Thatcher said that it was wrong for children to “be taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay”, before signing into legislation Clause 28, also known as Section 28. This act worked much the same way that the “gay propaganda” laws in Russia work today; wherein it becomes a criminal offence for public authorities, such as schools, to allow anyone to talk about being gay in a positive light.

Those who lived through section 28, myself included, still wear the scars of that horrific act of legislation which was only repealed in 2003. Attempts to control LGBTQIA+ kids and discourage them from existing via policy designed to harm them have sadly not stayed in the past for the UK, with multiple government ministers giving statements supporting such behaviour; including education secretary Nadhim Zahawi MP who spoke on outing transgender pupils to their parents.

Mike Freer, to my knowledge, has not commented on the words of his colleagues. He has not called out the harms which their beliefs will cause. He has not spoken up about how the rhetoric being used by our government with regard to LGBT+ lives has emboldened anti-LGBT+ campaigners and sentiment in the UK. He has not spoken about the rise in hate crimes that coincides with the constant hammering of LGBT+ people in the media and politics.

In the letter Mike Freer writes “I now feel that we have let down our constituents and our supports” and the only thing I can think of saying is “now”? You feel that “now”? All of a sudden? When everyone else is already resigning, you finally decide to have a bit of integrity and actually take a stand for the thing you are paid to do? Go fuck yourself.

I see this for what it is, a cynical political move designed to support the (now successful) ousting of a crap Prime Minister. It has nothing to do with constituents, supporters, LGBT+ people, diversity or Margaret Thatcher’s evil bones. It has everything to do with playing the game and making sure there’s still a Tory party after the end of all this scandal. All so they can all keep their nice cushy jobs blowing smoke up each other’s arses and paying lip-service to their job titles.

It’s grotesque parody of a government, not even The Thick of It could do it better. Mike Freer should be ashamed.

To borrow from Tolkien; “The gays are waking up and finding that they are strong”. The rallying of the queer community via LGBT consortium, Stonewall UK and 100+ organisations who came together to boycott #SafeToBeMe is a bell that can’t be un-rung. As long as we don’t allow ourselves to get tired and complacent again, we can only get stronger, more badass, and more effective at creating safe environments for people like us.

We don’t need and have never needed the government for this. Mike Freer and his colleagues need us.

 

 

 

Gemma Stone
Gemma Stone is a transgender writer who has been covering the rise of transphobic hate campaigning in the UK. She has written hundreds of articles dissecting aspects of transphobia including debunking blatant disinformation. She is very tired and trying her best, and hopefully having a positive impact on such a beautiful community.

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