Politics Kemi Badenoch: Law must protect single-sex spaces to keep...

Kemi Badenoch: Law must protect single-sex spaces to keep predators out

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Kemi Badenoch said the law needed to change to protect single-sex spaces because there are more male predators than there are trans people.

The equalities minister told MPs that men were exploiting loopholes in the law to gain access to single-sex spaces such as women’s lavatories and changing rooms.

Mrs Badenoch warned trans activists against causing a “chilling effect” by dubbing those such as her who raised concerns as transphobic.

And on whether parents should be told by schools that their child was socially transitioning, she said: “Starting with the premise that parents are a danger to children is a wrong one.”

During an appearance at the Commons women and equalities select committee, Mrs Badenoch said: “For many years, many transgender people were living their lives peacefully, nobody had an issue.

“It wasn’t until predators started exploiting the loopholes that we are having to tighten this.

“It is the behaviour of people who are choosing to exploit rights given to transgender people – because the definition is very loose – that we are now having to look at what we can do in order to protect women and children who are the most vulnerable in those single-sex spaces.

“It is not easy: the ideal situation would have been if the predators had not chosen to exploit this loophole.

‘Legislation must protect all people’

“I have to be clear that I’m not saying that transgender people are predators, but there are more people who are predators than there are people who are trans.

“We need to think very carefully about how we draft legislation in order to protect all the people, whether it is transgender people, women and children, those who need single-sex spaces. It is not an easy thing to do but that is what I’m working on.”

She also said the huge backlog of children awaiting medical appointments for gender matters was partly because many had been influenced by TikTok and peer pressure.

Asked about increasing hate crimes against transgender people, the minister said “life will get better” for them once the predators were “swept away”.

She said: “We see it with men exposing themselves in bathrooms, we see it with people trying to access single-sex spaces such as women’s prisons when they have been convicted for violence against women, and their victims are being forced to refer to them with female pronouns. That is not right.

“We have to make sure that we can sweep all that away, and when we do, life will get better for transgender people.”

Mrs Badenoch added: “I get accused of being transphobic simply for looking at policy… We cannot create a chilling effect on politicians and clinicians raising concerns.”

She said a ban on conversion therapy would already have been published had it only covered gay conversion. It was the trans element which made it complicated, and it was now unlikely to be published until the spring.

The minister said many clinicians did not want to work in the gender sphere because they did not always agree that gender-affirming care, including surgical remedies, was right.

Mrs Badenoch said that she believed medical interventions “should be a last resort, not a first resort”.

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