Gender Recognition

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:47 pm on 6 December 2023.

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Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities 1:47, 6 December 2023

I do agree. Certainly in the majority of physical sports it is fairer and safer to separate on the basis of biological sex, and it is crucial that sporting bodies understand their responsibilities to women. A poor understanding of equalities law has led to women such as the pool player Lynne Pinches having to take legal action to ensure fair competition in their sport, and girls often fear being physically injured by biological males. Rather than speaking up about the abuse, they endure it because they are scared of being called bigots. I would say to people across the House that calling people transphobic and calling them bigots when they express concern is creating a chilling effect. I had a group of schoolchildren, teenage girls, in my office who told me that because of mixed-sex sports they are bullied and pushed around—one of them talked about her glasses been broken—because the boys are using the opportunity to bully. We should think about children and we should think about protecting them, so I disagree with the labelling of anyone who has a different opinion as transphobic. That is what is causing the problems in this debate, and I am determined to bring some light rather than the heat that others continue to generate.