Rishi Sunak says ‘biological sex is fundamentally important’ ahead of a parliamentary debate on changes to equality law
- MPs will debate a petition for ‘man’ and ‘woman’ to legally mean biological sex
- Read more: Rishi Sunak wades into trans debate saying ‘biological sex matters’
Rishi Sunak has said biological sex is ‘fundamentally important’ ahead of a parliamentary debate on changes to equality law.
MPs will debate a petition signed by almost 110,000 people calling for the Equality Act to be clarified so the terms ‘man’ and ‘woman’ legally mean biological sex, and not ‘sex as modified by a Gender Recognition Certificate’.
The petition, which attracted support from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, will be debated in Parliament’s Westminster Hall on Monday.
It will be considered along with a rival petition, which has almost 139,000 signatures, which warned the proposed change would ‘remove legal protections for trans people, an already marginalised group’.
Asked whether he backed the legal change, Mr Sunak said: ‘I’ve been very clear that when it comes to matters like this biological sex is fundamentally important.
Rishi Sunak (pictured) has said biological sex is ‘fundamentally important’ ahead of a parliamentary debate on changes to equality law
In February Mr Sunak waded into the trans rights debate by claiming human biology ‘really matters’ when it comes to policy in sport and prisons
‘I’ve said that multiple times and with regard to the Equalities Act, in particular, the Government has specifically asked for advice from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on this particular topic, and then obviously, we will review that.
‘We’ve asked for that advice. And it’s something I’ve spoken about in the past as being important to me, and we’ve asked the Equalities and Human Rights Commission for advice on this particular issue.’
READ MORE: ‘Biological sex really matters’: Rishi Sunak wades into transgender prisoner row and says trans athletes competing in women’s sport seems ‘unfair’ – as he defines a woman as ‘adult human female’
The EHRC has previously concluded that changing the Equality Act to refer to ‘biological sex’ merits further consideration.
The EHRC said that while it found ‘no straightforward balance’, the change could bring ‘greater legal clarity’ in eight areas, including hospital wards and sport.
It comes after Mr Sunak waded into the trans rights debate in February by claiming human biology ‘really matters’ when it comes to policy in sport and prisons.
While the Government must have ‘enormous compassion’ for those wanting to change gender, Mr Sunak said biological sex must take priority.
Referring to the case of trans rapist Isla Bryson, who was initially held in a female prison in Scotland, Mr Sunak suggested the state must ‘recognise the challenges’ around single-sex spaces while being sensitive to the trans community.
‘I know what a woman is – an adult human female, ‘ he told Piers Morgan on TalkTV.
‘We must have enormous compassion and tolerance and understanding for those who are questioning their gender identity and wanting to change. That’s who we are as a people.’
But he came out against trans athletes competing in women’s sport, saying: ‘That doesn’t strike most people as being fair, right? So that’s why when it comes to these questions, biological sex matters… whether it’s sex, whether it’s women’s spaces, whether it’s prisons, biological sex really matters.’
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