UK

Boris Johnson jumps into trans row saying ‘basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important’

Boris Johnson jumps into transgender rights row telling MPs ‘basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important’ when it comes to distinguishing between a man and a woman

  • The Prime Minister became the latest high profile politician to speak out 
  • Last week Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that ‘trans women are women’
  •  PM said issue ‘requires extreme sensitivity, tact, love and care’ from politicians

Boris Johnson jumped intot he simmering political row over transgender rights today, saying the ‘basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important’.

The Prime Minister became the latest high profile politician to speak out on an issue that occupies an inordinate amount of public discourse. 

Earlier this month Harry Potter author JK Rowling attacked Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after he said that ‘trans women are women’. 

He had been attempting to end criticism that his MPs were tying themselves up in knots over what defines a woman.

Mr Johnson spoke at Prime Minister’s Questions today after a backbench Tory MP raised the issue of ‘gender distress’.

Guildford MP Angela Richardson asked him for a meeting to ‘discuss how we can constructively support these young people who are experiencing gender distress?’

Mr Johnson replied: ‘I think that this is one of those issues that the whole House is coming to realise is one that requires extreme sensitivity, tact, love and care.

‘We must recognise that when people want to make a transition in their lives, that they should be treated with the maximum possible generosity and respect, and we have systems in this country that allow that and have done for a long time, we should be very proud of it.

‘I do want to say in addition that I think when it comes to distinguishing between a man and a woman, that the basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important.’ 

In newspaper interview last week, Sir Kier said: ‘A woman is a female adult and, in addition to that, trans women are women, and that is not just my view – that is actually the law.’

The former Director of Public Prosecutions added: ‘It has been the law through the combined effects of the 2004 [Gender Recognition] Act and the 2010 [Equality] Act.’  

But in a series of furious messages on Twitter, Potter writer Ms Rowling wrote: ‘I don’t think our politicians have the slightest idea how much anger is building among women from all walks of life at the attempts to threaten and intimidate them out of speaking publicly about their own rights, their own bodies and their own lives.’

She said she had received ‘thousands of letters’ from women across the political spectrum who were ‘outraged and angry at the deaf ear turned to their well-founded concerns’.

She added: ‘Now Keir Starmer publicly misrepresents equalities law, in yet another indication that the Labour Party can no longer be counted on to defend women’s rights. But I repeat, women are organising across party lines, and their resolve and anger are growing.’

Ms Rowling gave a £1 million donation to Labour in 2008 but has become increasingly critical of the party’s stance on trans issues. 

JK Rowling

Sir Keir Starmer

JK Rowling (left) hit out at Sir Keir Starmer (right) after he tried to bring some clarity to the controversial question of defining what a woman is

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