'Your child is a boy or girl': Tory MP says parents should 'not give in' to trans kids

23 May 2022, 20:56 | Updated: 24 May 2022, 10:54

Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher.
Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher. Picture: Parliament

By Sophie Barnett

Parents whose children identify as non-binary or trans should "push back" and "not give in", a Conservative MP has said.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP for Don Valley, urged parents to tell their children to be "proud of who they are" during a debate on making non-binary a legally-recognised gender identity in the UK.

Mr Fletcher was criticised for "stating transphobic myth" and "hateful fear-mongering" during the non-binary debate - which was brought to the House of Commons following a public petition signed by more than 140,000 people.

He said: "While I am here, I want to speak to parents.

"If your child comes home with these concerns, talk to them but be strong.

Read more: Smiling Queen arrives at Chelsea Flower Show in buggy amid ongoing mobility issues

Read more: Partygate probe wasn't thorough as police didn't want to upset No10, says ex-Met chief

"Do not ever give into them or to peer pressure from other adults.

"Your child was born a boy or girl.

"Be proud of who they are.

"Tell them to be proud of who they are."

He added that parents should "help and encourage them", urging them to "be part of their lives" and "talk to them all the time".

"But push back on this," he continued.

"Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

"They will thank you for it in the long run."

Read more: Number of monkeypox cases in England triples to 56 as Scotland confirms first case

Mr Fletcher claimed that kids might one day be “unhappy” or regret their decision to affirm their identity because they will be “having to shave” when one of their friends might be “dressing up beautifully”.

He said he did accept that non-binary people "do exist", but did not agree that legal recognition for them was needed.

He added: "I see them. I hear them. I feel for them. I want to help them.

"I say this to them: We are a tolerant nation and we accept you as you are, however it does not follow that the law has to be changed to reflect the way certain individuals feel."

His comments have sparked fury online, with many accusing the Conservative MP of being transphobic.

Owen J Hurcum, the world’s first openly non-binary mayor, condemned Fletcher for “stating transphobic myth and bigotry over and over again”.

TransActivismUK claimed Mr Fletcher's comments were "offensive, inaccurate and hateful fear-mongering".

The petition, which calls on the Government to "make non-binary a legally recognised gender identity in the UK", attracted more than 140,000 signatures from across the country.

It added that recognising non-binary as a "valid gender identity" could "aid in the protection of non-binary individuals against transphobic hate crimes, and would ease gender dysphoria experienced by non-binary people".

Elsewhere in the Westminster Hall debate, Conservative former minister Tim Loughton suggested puberty blockers should only be available to over-18s, comparing the medicine to cosmetic surgeries.

The East Worthing and Shoreham MP said that puberty blockers have "life changing impacts on those children, far more than a tattoo or a temporary suntan or even a breast enlargement operation would have".

He added: "Yet if you challenge that, if you question whether those children are actually capable of thinking through the consequences and cognisant of the implications for the rest of their lives to make that decision, with or without parental responsibility being involved, then you are subject to cancel culture."

Labour party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds urged the Government "to focus on the treatment of non-binary people especially on the need for research into this".