It sadly seems to be a regular occurrence for politicians to mock minority groups in the House of Commons these days. On 7 February, prime minister Rishi Sunak made crass and inappropriate jokes about trans women as an attempt to take a jab at Labour leader Keir Starmer and his stance on trans rights.
On a normal day this type of behaviour would not be befitting of a prime minister of any country, but it became particularly nasty and horrible given that Esther Ghey, the mother of Brianna Ghey, was in the chamber.
Brianna Ghey was a 16-year-old girl who was brutally murdered in a public park in 2023 by her peers. The sentencing of her killers was carried out on 2 February 2024, where they were sentenced to 20 and 22 years in prison. Judge Mrs Justice Yip held in her sentencing that the murder was in part motivated by the fact that Brianna was trans.
Her mother has appeared in several interviews recently, showing herself to be a remarkable and compassionate woman who loved and supported her daughter.
Hearing the prime minister mock trans women in the Commons in the light of this murder therefore felt particularly harrowing and sinister. He appears to make no connection between the type of cheap and crass jokes he makes about trans people and the rising anti-hostility in the UK.
In the UK, hate crimes against transgender people have been increasing, with an increase of 186% in the last five years. These numbers should be enough to make anyone concerned and it’s important to note that these crimes don’t happen in a vacuum.