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Sex and Gender

Jamie Wallis’s trans statement leaves more questions than answers

Whatever becomes of Wallis though a box has been ticked: Britain has its first trans MP. Or at least an MP who wants to be trans.

Westminster has its first openly transgender Member of Parliament. In the early hours of this morning*, Jamie Wallis, Conservative MP for Bridgend, announced: ‘I’m trans. Or to be more accurate, I want to be.’

‘I’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and I’ve felt this way since I was a very young child,’ Wallis added. ‘I had no intention of ever sharing this with you. I always imagined I would leave politics well before I ever said this out loud.’

Wallis’s statement this morning was remarkable. In an earlier era, it might have filled the News of the World for weeks. Wallis reported having been blackmailed for £50,000: the perpetrator pled guilty and was sentenced to more than two years. The Tory MP also claims to have been raped in a separate incident. And Wallis admitted to having ‘fled the scene’ after a car crash in November. He was later fined £270 and issued with three penalty points.

Of course, it is not right that Wallis fled after crashing a car. But the trans revelation is a first for an MP. My surprise, however, is that it has taken so long. Before transgenderism became such a hot topic, the public might have been forgiven for supposing that trans people were vanishingly rare. The truth, however, is rather different.

In 2009, GIRES – a transgender advocacy charity that advised the Home Office – suggested that ‘the adults who present emerge from a large reservoir of transgender people, who experience some degree of gender variance.’ An earlier (2005) study by Långström and Zucker reported that ‘almost three per cent of men reported at least one episode of transvestic fetishism.’

Politicians are human like the rest of us, so it seems likely that there will be more MPs like Wallis. Perhaps Wallis will only end up being notable for being the first to come out as trans. 

But now for Wallis? The statement certainly leaves more questions than answers. For a start, why bring up the car crash? The simple answer is that we don’t know what else was happening in Wallis’s life at the time. But Wallis’s constituents are likely to have some questions. Less than two years out from the next general election campaign, I sense that this incident – rather than Wallis coming out as trans – might become rather pressing to voters in Bridgend. It also seems likely that voters will judge Wallis, not on his gender, but on whether he has delivered for his constituents in a wafer-thin marginal seat.

Whatever becomes of Wallis though a box has been ticked: Britain has its first trans MP. Or at least an MP who wants to be trans. And that might be the most interesting part of this whole saga. The LGBTQ+ community makes a lot of noise about inclusion and diversity; the reality is somewhat different. Trans people like me – who recognise the importance and primacy of biological sex – often find ourselves pushed out. Will the rainbow carpet denied to us now be rolled out for a Tory MP like Wallis? It would be exclusionary not to.


Debbie Hayton is a teacher and journalist.

* This article was first published by The Spectator on 30 March 2022: Jamie Wallis’s trans statement leaves more questions than answers.

By Debbie Hayton

Physics teacher and trade unionist.

6 replies on “Jamie Wallis’s trans statement leaves more questions than answers”

I am also becoming an outcast in the LGBT community. I’m not only opposed to the foolishness of transgender ideology, I am opposed to the use of the word “queer”, which was always a slur when used for gays. Actually, the main group that is using the word “queer” is nonbinary trans people, who don’t know what else to call themselves. “Queer” has also been adopted by academics, resulting in various colleges and universities having “queer studies” departments, instead of “gender studies”, which I think is a more logical name. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is becoming stupid.

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I will never call a person queer it seems dehumanising because i grew up using the word to mean weird but only talking about a situation or thing, never a someone. As in Enid Blyton stories i read, it was used a lot instead of perculiar because every one knew queer meant a strange or weird situation. For this to be used to describe people is going backwards.

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I’m finding this paragraph profoundly baffling:

“In 2009, GIRES – a transgender advocacy charity that advised the Home Office – suggested that ‘the adults who present emerge from a large reservoir of transgender people, who experience some degree of gender variance.’ An earlier (2005) study by Långström and Zucker reported that ‘almost three per cent of men reported at least one episode of transvestic fetishism.’”

It seems to be offered in support of the author’s view that “that trans people [are not] vanishingly rare,” but the first part of the paragraph merely expresses, “a lot of people have varying degrees of feeling male or female,” and there is nothing “transgender” about a man getting in touch with his “feminine side” or a woman deciding to “man up” – i.e. we all are on a continuum in how we feel. What being male or female actually feels like is ultimately meaningless.

I’m not sure what the second reference even has to do with transgenderism, per se. Is three per cent high? Is it low? What proportion of fetishistic transvestites consider their “gender” to be unlike their (biological) “sex”, and by how much? Transvestic fetishism can be sis-gendered fantasy play, rather than indicating any level of gender dysphoria.

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We get confused, I think, because we lack the language to define clearly what we mean. Transvestism and transvestites are not talked about much these days, but human nature does not change. The distinction between transvestism and transsexualism was never very well defined; now it is not defined at all. Transgender covers both groups.

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I think I’m like a lot of people and have some reservations about the authenticity of Jamie Wallis’s claim to be transgender. Whilst there’s no ‘rule book’ on how to be transgender, his revelation still feels a little bit off. We can only wait and see how this progresses, I guess, if he also makes that public.

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