Julie Bindel

Is Kemi Badenoch’s leaked audio a set-up?

Is Kemi Badenoch's leaked audio a set-up?
(Photo by Simon Walker/HM Tresury)
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The headline reads, ‘UK Equalities Minister Goes on Anti-LGBTQ Rant in Leaked Audio'. Oh dear, I thought. As a lesbian and a harsh critic of the Tory government, I wondered what had been said. I scoured the piece in Vice, expecting something along the lines of ‘pervert’ and ‘unnatural’ and something about how we will be marrying our vacuum cleaners next.

But it was all rather tame and boring. Badenoch said:

It’s now, you know like, it’s not even about sexuality now, it’s now like the whole transgender movement, where, OK well we’ve got gay marriage and civil partnerships, so what are transsexuals looking for? … So now it’s not just about being free to marry who you want, you now want to have men using women’s bathrooms.

My reading of her words is that she acknowledged the progress made in terms of lesbian and gay rights and was bemoaning the fact that trans activists are demanding the right to invade women-only spaces. But until Vice makes the audio and full transcript available, we won’t know what Badenoch meant by her words.

The recording is three years old, made in Badenoch’s parliamentary office in 2018, a year after she was elected as MP. Why report it now?

On Twitter Badenoch is being described as ‘vile’ and accused of going on an ‘anti-LGBT rant’. In terms of what is deemed ‘transphobia’ these days, the bar has been set so low it would flummox a world champion limbo dancer.

The so-called ‘explosive exclusive’ appears to be anything but. The article feels like a bit of a set-up to me, and maybe even an attempt to bait people into turning on Badenoch. The ‘misgendering’ allegation is ridiculous. Badenoch was referring to biological sex, not the fictionalised version so many media outlets have been coerced into adopting. Perhaps Vice could begin to self-identify as a serious publication?