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 thank my hon. Friend for his question. I am happy to meet Members from across the House on this issue, but I stress that changing the law is not going to be easy. It will not be straightforward and it will need consensus, broadly, across the House, because of many of the issues I alluded to earlier.

On his earlier point about social transitioning, he is actually right. It is probably worth my putting on the record what social transitioning is, because I know that a lot of people may not necessarily be clear about what I am referring to. Social transitioning is a relatively new phenomenon. It is rooted in gender identity theory, which I must stress is a very contested ideology. The term is often used to refer to a range of actions that a child may take to appear more like the opposite sex, accompanied by an expectation that they will be treated as if they are. That may include requests for a child to change their name, the pronouns associated with them or their uniform, or to use different facilities from those provided for their biological sex. Not all of those requests will comply with legal duties on schools, particularly those to safeguard children.

Social transitioning is not a neutral act, as it has been recognised that it can have formative effects on a child’s future development, which is what my hon. Friend is alluding to when he talks about cross-sex hormones. We are taking this very seriously. We will have the gender questioning guidance out very shortly, and I hope it will address many of the issues he is concerned about.