Keir Starmer says ‘trans women are women’ as he calls for ‘respectful’ debate

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Sir Keir Starmer said “trans women are women” as he demanded a more respectful public debate on transgender issues.

The Labour leader announced he backs calls for the Gender Recognition Act to be amended so transgender people can get legal recognition of their gender based on self-declaration, rather than needing a medical diagnosis.

Mr Starmer told The Times: “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.

“It has been the law through the combined effects of the 2004 [Gender Recognition] Act and the 2010 [Equality] Act.”

He added: “The process that people have to go through does need to be looked at. If you talk to anybody who’s been through the process there’s a real issue about respect and dignity.”

Also, he supports one of the key demands of feminists who have clashed with transgender activists by insisting on safe spaces - such as toilets - for those born as women.

He said: “I believe in safe spaces for women. I’m very clear about those too. I think the 2010 act, the Equality Act, which does provide for safe spaces for women is right. And therefore I’m very straightforward about this.”

His comments come following a row in the House of Commons on Thursday after a Tory MP called for legislators to be “clear and courageous about what a man is and what a woman is”.

Sir Bernard Jenkin said the rights of women in women-only safe spaces, such as public toilet, and are being “threatened”.

He claimed violence against women is nearly always committed by men but he stressed “there is a new and growing category of violence against women by people who calls themselves women but are biologically male”.

He then criticised Labour shadow women and equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds for being “unable or unwilling” to give a clear answer when asked to define a woman on BBC’s radio programme Woman’s Hour.

Intervening, Ms Dodds said: “I would like to ask the honourable member for evidence of the statement he has just made. I would like him to provide a transcript of my comments, any quotes he can find from anywhere that would indicate that at any point, I have not been clear about what a woman is. It’s quite easy for me, given that I am a woman.”