Labour’s Wes Streeting says it’s ‘wrong’ to write off ‘gender-critical’ people as bigots

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has said that “gender-critical” people should not be “written off as bigots”.

Not for the first time, the Labour MP for Ilford North, in London, has expressed support for gender-critical beliefs, saying it’s “absolutely fair” to want to listen to groups that wish to exclude trans women from women’s spaces.

Streeting, a former senior Stonewall official, noted that he began to reflect on the issues after seeing the criticism faced by the likes of author JK Rowling and fellow Labour MP Rosie Duffield.

Speaking at the Hay Festival, he said: “There is absolutely a fair challenge and criticism to say that gender-critical feminists and women who have been raising concerns about women-only spaces or erasure from NHS documents… were written off as bigots and prejudiced and people sort of shut them down.

“I would agree with that challenge and say that was wrong, counter-productive and not the way to handle such a sensitive issue.”

Wes Streeting has said he no longer believes trans women are women. (Getty)

The comments come in the wake of Streeting’s indication last month that he no longer believes trans women are women, or that trans men are men.

Speaking to The Sun on 10 April, the MP said he no longer stood by the Stonewall comment “trans men are men, trans women are women, get over it,” saying he had some “self-criticism and reflection.”

He went on to say: “If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would have said trans men are men, trans women are women, some people are trans, get over it.

“Now, I sort of sit and reflect and think there are lots of complexities.”

In the more recent statement, Streeting – likely to be the health secretary if Labour win July’s general election – seemed to be trying to meet the trans community, and those who wish to exclude them, in the middle, saying he hopes there would be “good will” from both sides.

“I genuinely think there is a way through this toxic conversation where trans people can live with dignity, respect and inclusion, and women can have their sex-based rights protected. I feel optimistic and confident.”

He compared the discrimination he faced as a gay man to that which transgender people face, saying there are lots of similarities.

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