The prime minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, has weighed into the row over transgender rights, saying biological males should not be allowed to compete in female-only sports events.
Boris Johnson has said “biological males” should not be competing in women’s sports, amid controversy over two elite transgender athletes seeking to take part in cycling and swimming events.
The prime minister accepted the debate on the rights of trans people presents “complex issues” and his opinions may put him “in conflict” with many in the LGBT+ community.
But, he said, “that doesn’t mean that I’m not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition”.
His comments come after British cyclist Emily Bridges, who was assigned male at birth before seeking to transition, was declared ineligible to race at the British National Omnium Championships.
And in America, swimmer Lia Thomas, who was also assigned male at birth, sparked debate after she won the women’s 500-yard freestyle in the NCAA swimming championship in Atlanta.
Speaking on Wednesday, April 6 during a visit to a hospital in Welwyn Garden City the Prime Minister said there are still things to be worked out, and that he was ‘sad’ at the reaction of the organizations involved.
‘I don’t think that it’s reasonable for kids to be deemed so-called Gillick-competent to make decisions about their gender or irreversible treatments that they may have. I think there should be parental involvement at the very least.’
‘I don’t think that biological men should be competing in female sporting events.
He also defended the decision to exclude transgender people from the conversion therapy ban, despite backlash from some of his own MPs.
‘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. There, I’m afraid, there are things that I think still need to be worked out.’
The PM added that women should have spaces in hospitals, prisons, and changing rooms that were ‘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,’
‘That doesn’t mean that I’m not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition.
‘It’s vital that we give people the maximum possible love and support in making those decisions.
‘But these are complex issues and I don’t think they can be solved with one swift, easy piece of legislation. It takes a lot of thought to get this right,’ he added.