The issue of trans rights is creating a big stir in the UK right now. This has actually been an ongoing debate but the most recent round seems to have kicked off with Labour leader Keir Starmer saying to the Times of London, “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.” That followed another statement several months ago when Starmer publicly criticized a Labour MP who had said “only women have a cervix.”
The statement to the Times about the law led to some backlash from JK Rowling on Twitter:
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. 1/3 https://t.co/NtwFcTVgif
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 12, 2022
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 their anger are growing. 3/3
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 12, 2022
Even more recently, Starmer appeared on a British call in show during which he was asked about Lia Thomas and trans women competing in sports. Starmer dodged that question saying it should be decided by sports regulating bodies. He was then asked about JK Rowling’s criticism and was trying to lay out a moderate position when the interviewer, Nick Ferrari, asked a blunt question: “So a woman can have a penis?” Starmer stammered a bit in response.
⚡️ Genuine question
while @Keir_Starmer can’t define a woman 😬. How can he run a country? #NeverLabour @timmyvoe pic.twitter.com/UgI1d9QLOy
— Ray Ban 😎 | #BackBoris (@BackBoris2024UK) March 31, 2022
It’s odd that he would have such difficulty with this because all he really had to do, to be consistent, is repeat that trans women are women. It was really his hesitation that made this noteworthy.
There’s even more to the story because there was supposed to be a ban on conversion therapy but the government first announced it wouldn’t follow through and then announced it would in what the media called a double U turn on the issue. A big LGBT conference set to be held in London this summer is now on the edge of being canceled because activists groups upset by the government’s waffling are dropping out.
Yesterday the health secretary announced another wrinkle in the plan, saying that conversion therapy for LGB people should be banned but that when it came to trans people there might need to be some more nuance.
“When it comes to conversion therapy, it is absolutely right, as the government has said, that we ban the so-called conversion therapy for LGB people,” Mr Javid told Sky’s Kay Burley.
“When it comes to trans. I do think that we need to be more careful.”
With all of that happening in recent weeks, Boris Johnson was asked about his stance on trans issues and gave a pretty clear statement. “We will have a ban on gay conversion therapy which to me is utterly abhorrent, but there are complexities and sensitivities when you move from the area of sexuality to the question of gender and there I’m afraid there are things that still need to be worked out,” Johnson said.
“These are novel concepts, we’ve got to be clear about that,” he said. He then offered a few points on which he did feel confident. “I don’t think that it’s reasonable for kids to be deemed so-called Gillick competent, to take decisions about their gender—irreversible treatments that they may have. I just don’t—I think there should be parental involvement at the very least.
“Second thing, I don’t think that biological males should be competing in female sporting events…It just seems to me to be sensible. And I also happen to think that women should have spaces which are—whether it’s in hospitals or prisons or change rooms, wherever— which are dedicated to women.
“That’s as far as my thinking has developed on this issue and if that puts me in conflict with, you know, some others then we’ve got to work it all out. That doesn’t mean that I’m not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition and it’s vital that we give people the maximum possible love and support in making those decisions.”
"There are complexities and sensitivities when you move from the area of sexuality to the question of gender", says PM Boris Johnson, adding "I don't think it's reasonable" for children to "take decisions on their gender" without a parent's involvement.https://t.co/1tlTUMzZ7e pic.twitter.com/ieyjnK4enQ
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 6, 2022
Naturally, this statement is receiving all sorts of responses.
He's a science denier
— Katy Montgomerie 🦖🦕 (@KatyMontgomerie) April 6, 2022
Others find themselves disturbed at being in agreement with Boris Johnson:
Bloody hell it’s so disconcerting to be in agreement with Boris Johnson or the Conservative party on something but this is where I’m at now. 😵💫@UKLabour desperately need to sort themselves out.
— 💜🤍💚 Lady Morrigan KPSS (@MorriganWoman) April 6, 2022
I like this response from someone who compared this statement to an open goal.
Well, of course he's going to go for a goal that has been left wide open by every other political party.
— H*lls B*lle (@Janos1974) April 6, 2022
And of course he also has supporters who think he did a good job here.
He’s nailed it there, it’s an issue that’s very simple in some respects and very complex in others, and it’s not one that benefits from or will be solved by loud sloganeering from extremists
— Joe Rymer 🇬🇧 🇺🇦 (@rymer_joe) April 6, 2022
No tweets about this from JK Rowling yet but if I see one I’ll add it.
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