Theresa May says she's 'woke and proud' and calls for 'sensitive' approach on trans policies

Theresa May

Theresa May made the comments whilst taking part in an interview for her new book

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 18/09/2023

- 11:02

Updated: 18/09/2023

- 11:21

The ex-Prime Minister has been outspoken in her support for transgender people

Theresa May has said that she is “woke and proud” as she called for a more “sensitive approach” to trans policies.

The former Prime Minister condemned the “polarised” debate around gender-related issues and called for “calm reflection and consideration”.

May compared being asked whether she was a woke woman to being asked whether she was a feminist. She referenced a t-shirt she wore once which said, “this is what feminist looks like”.

Her comments came in an interview with Ruth Davidson, the former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, to promote her new book.

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Davidson asked the Tory MP about a line from the book, called The Abuse of Power, in which she discusses wokeism.

She said: “When you were writing about wokeness, you said: ‘The Oxford English Dictionary definition of woke is well-informed, up to date and chiefly alert to racial discrimination and injustice. And on that basis, who would not want to be woke?’”

Davidson added: “It invites the question, Theresa, are you possibly a woke woman?”

May responded: “In the terms of that definition of somebody who recognises that discrimination takes place. Sadly, that term has come to be used ... as part of this absolutism and polarisation of politics.”


She laughed when asked if she was “woke and proud”, replying “I am, yeah!”

May critiqued negative rhetoric surrounding gender issues, saying that it was “very unfortunate how it has played out over the last six years”.

The ex-Prime Minister has been outspoken in her support for transgender people.

Last year, she called for a ban on conversation therapy as part of a proposed legislation.

“Few people, reading of accounts from trans people, would disagree that they still face indignities and prejudice, when they deserve understanding and respect,” she told the i paper.

Theresa May

May said "Yeah, I am!" when asked if she was woke


“We need to strive for greater understanding on both sides of the debate. Just because an issue is controversial, that doesn’t mean we can avoid addressing it.

“To that end, the government must keep to its commitment to consider the issue of transgender conversion therapy.

“If it is not to be in the upcoming bill, then the matter must not be allowed to slide.”

During her tenure as Prime Minister, May put forward plans to allow self-identification – where people can define their own gender without a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria – but they were scrapped when Boris Johnson succeeded her.

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