Boris Johnson parrots anti-trans ‘biological facts’ dogwhistle during PMQs

Boris Johnson has been condemned for his remarks on trans lives during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

The prime minister declared that “when comes to distinguishing between a man and a woman, the basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important”.

He spoke after Conservative MP Angela Richardson raised the interim report from Dr Hilary Cass on gender-affirming healthcare in the Commons on Wednesday (23 March).

Rather than focussing on the interim report’s urgent recommendation that the NHS expand care for young trans people past a solitary, London-based clinic, the MP said Dr Cass had hightlighted “the need for more research into young girls, why so many of them are presenting with gender distress”.

Exploring why there has been an increase in referrals to the Tavistock GIC among children assigned female at birth has always been a part of the review’s scope.

Asked if he would meet with Richardson and other “concerned” colleagues on how they can “constructively support these young people who are experiencing gender distress”, Boris Johnson said he would be happy to, as it is an issue that requires “extreme sensitivity, tact, love and care”. 

Boris Johnson says trans people deserve respect – then contradicts himself

He added that people wanting to make a “transition in their lives” should be “treated with the maximum possible generosity and respect”, highlighting there are “systems in this country” that have been designed to help trans people in the UK. 

But then, he decided to espouse his own opinions on the lives of trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people in the UK by using the tired anti-trans dog whistle about ‘biological facts’. 

“When it comes to distinguishing between a man and a woman, the basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important” — Asked about people experiencing gender distress, Boris Johnson says issue “requires extreme sensitivity, tact, love and care” #PMQs

— Bloomberg UK (@BloombergUK) March 23, 2022

Boris Johnson has been roundly condemned by LGBT+ people and allies for his comments on trans people.

My god the last thing trans people wanted to hear today was Boris Johnson’s opinion on us, please shut the fuck up

— Arthur Webber (@BernieTranders) March 23, 2022

Boris johnson just said on trans people

“when it comes to the differences between a man and a woman, the facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important”

Well screw you too mate

— Abi Giles ‍ (@abigiles21) March 23, 2022

If you were on the same side of the “debate” on gay rights as a Tory Prime Minister in the 1980s, you were on the wrong side.

If you are on the same side of the “debate” on trans rights as a Tory Prime Minister today, you are on the wrong side.

— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) March 23, 2022

Just been watching with Emily and she said “well the prime minister hates me, I shouldn’t be surprised because most politicians do”. @BorisJohnson why do you hate my kid? Why can’t you acknowledge trans kids exist like @POTUS #TransRightsAreHumanRights

— Emma Williams AKA Emilys mum (@EmmsyEmma) March 23, 2022

My right to exist as a trans person is not contingent upon the “maximum generosity” of others.
Fecking Boris Johnson can feck off.

— Matti Colley #FBPE #GTTO #Rejoin (@matti_colley) March 23, 2022

with my full flat chest I kindly ask Boris Johnson to shut the hole under his nose and disintegrate slowly before speaking about trans people today, thank you

— Samantha (@itssamanthaaaa_) March 23, 2022

This is not the first time that Boris Johnson has been called out for statements impacting trans community. 

In October, the LGB Alliance shared a letter reportedly from Johnson’s office, thanking the anti-trans pressure group for its “incredible hard work”

The letter, signed by Mandy Godridge, said Johnson was “delighted to learn” about the LGB Alliance’s “groundbreaking” first annual conference, calling it a “truly momentous occasion”.  

Godridge said the prime minister was “unfortunately” unable to attend the conference because of “pressures on his diary”. However, Godridge thanked the group “on his behalf” for “their incredible hard work”. 

LGBT+ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told PinkNews at the time that Boris Johnson made a “huge and shameful misjudgment” by “colluding with an avowedly anti-trans organisation”. 

“This letter signals that our prime minister does not respect trans people and is on the side of their oppressors,” Tatchell added. 

Earlier this month, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer declared “trans women are women” during an interview with The Times as he called for a more respectful debate on trans issues. 

“A woman is a female adult and, in addition to that, trans women are women, and that is not just my view – that is actually the law,” Starmer said. “It has been the law through the combined effects of the 2004 [Gender Recognition] Act and the 2010 [Equality] Act.”

He added that the “process that people have to go through” doesn’t need to be “looked at”, and there is a “real issue about respect and dignity” in the discussion on trans issues in the UK.



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