Anti-trans rhetoric is rife in the British media. Little is being done to extinguish the flames

Britain faces a critical shortage of workers, leading to fuel supply constraints, a run on petrol stations and unstacked shelves in supermarkets due to lack of staff or undelivered foodstuffs. Despite this immediate crisis affecting millions of people, “gotcha” questions on trans rights have become a feature of this year’s political party conference season, say trans advocates.

On “Today,” last month, the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs radio program, presenter Justin Webb asked Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey if there should “not be spaces where biological males cannot go,” in reference to trans women. More than a week later, the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, was asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr if it was transphobic to say only women had a cervix. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked the same question about cervixes this week by right-leaning broadcaster GB News.

Both Davey and Starmer said respectful debates were needed on the matters. Johnson avoided answering the question directly, saying “biology is very important but we’ve got a system now in our country for many, many years where people can change gender … and what I absolutely passionately believe … is everybody should be treated with dignity and respect.” The questions may appear to be grounded in science, but are in fact troublesome. People identify as transgender when their gender identity doesn’t align with what has culturally been associated with the one they were assigned at birth. This is an anathema to Britain’s gender-critical feminists, who argue sex is immutable, and some use descriptors, such as “biological male,” which is considered a slur by trans activists, to describe trans women over their concerns about trans women in women-only spaces.

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