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Boris Johnson says trans women should not compete in women's sport

The prime minister described trans women as 'biological males' as he addressed the issue of trans participation.

2022-04-06

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: wiki

Boris Johnson has said that trans women should not compete in women's sport.

The UK Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party added that he knows his view would be considered "controversial" to many.

Johnson also said he believes women should have "dedicated" spaces, such as "hospitals, prisons and changing rooms." 

"It just seems to me to be sensible"

The BBC reports that Johnson said: "I don't think biological males should be competing in female sporting events. Maybe that's a controversial thing to say, but it just seems to me to be sensible.

"I also happen to think that women should have spaces - whether it's in hospitals, prison or changing rooms - which are dedicated to women. That's as far as my thinking has developed on this issue.

"If that puts me in conflict with some others, then we have got to work it all out. It doesn't mean I'm not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition and it's vital we give people the maximum love and support in making those decisions.

"These are complex issues and they can't be solved with one swift, easy piece of legislation. It takes a lot of thought to get this right."

The politician, speaking on Wednesday from a hospital in Hertfordshire, added [as per The Independent]: “I don’t think that it’s reasonable for kids to be deemed so-called Gillick-competent [a medical law term relating to whether a child is able to consent to their own medical treatment] to take decisions about their gender or irreversible treatments that they may have. I think there should be parental involvement at the very least."

Trans-inclusive sport has dominated the headlines of late after cycling's world governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale, ruled that Emily Bridges, a cyclist who is trans, could not compete at the National Omnium Championships last weekend.

Bridges, 21, said in a subsequent statement that she has been "harassed and demonised" by the media since the ruling.

Johnson's comments follow a dramatic period for the Conservative government on LGBTQ issues, after it emerged that a promised ban on LGBTQ conversion therapy - the scientifically-debunked practise of trying to change a person's gender identity and/or sexuality - was to proceed, but exclude trans people.

LGBTQ organisations such as Stonewall pulled out of the government's LGBTQ-focused Safe To Be Me: A Global Equality Conference in protest. The event, due to take place in June, has now been cancelled.

Johnson has said he is "sad" about the response as well as defending the decision, which he said was made due to the "complexities and sensitivities" around the isue.

Last week, Tory MP Jamie Wallis came out as trans (Johnson responded: "The house stands with you, and we will give you the support that you need to live freely as yourself.")