Please find the video and text of my speech at the Legislative Definition of Sex debate in Westminster Hall on 12 June 2023:
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship, Mrs Cummins. As we have heard, the petitioners want to make a simple amendment to clarify the Equality Act with regard to the interpretation of the word “sex”. That clarification would prevent serious problems from continuing. We are in a position where some biological males believe that they have a right to enter single-sex spaces—female changing rooms. I suspect that when many think of that they think of a grown man—a trans woman—entering a grown woman’s space. That to me is obviously wrong, but my real concern is what happens when a six-year-old girl is in that changing room—somebody’s daughter, somebody’s granddaughter, somebody’s niece. It just is not right.
I want to make an aside—hon. Members will see where I am going with it. I worked in construction most of my life. Health and safety has taken a real turn for the better over the last 30 years. We now report near misses—where an accident could have happened, but luckily did not. A tripping hazard may have been seen, or an oil spill. We do that to learn, and to prevent accidents from taking place. We put items only in designated areas, and prevent the spill or have spill kits on hand. That does not mean that everyone was going to trip or slip, but some might have. We learn from near misses and prevent accidents. I think we would all agree that that is wise.
While our construction sites are getting safer—well done to those in the Opposition for bringing in health and safety legislation—our single-sex spaces are not. Let us do what we need to do to clarify the Equality Act and ensure that no biological male can enter that six-year-old girl’s changing room. To me, that would be excellent legislation, and a must—a near miss reported to stop tragedy happening. That does not mean every biological male going into a female changing room is a danger, like not everyone was going to trip or slip, but some might be, so we should say no and prevent the possibility of something bad happening. That is why I support the petition and hope the Government will, too.
We can also use the analogy of a near miss when it comes to women’s sport. If we do not make this change right now, we could quite easily end up with no women’s sport. Many young girls will see what is happening—biological males winning in female sports, or perhaps a woman or girl being injured—and think, “What’s the point in trying?” Let us sort out the Equality Act right now and protect our women’s sport for good.
If we can stop the use of new gender pronouns in schools, we will stop many issues for our young people later in life, too. I am glad that we have been able to discuss this near miss today. I hope we can learn from it and prevent the tragedies that could follow if we do not.
Let me assure all those who think it is unfair that I believe we need to help and support those with gender dysphoria and treat them with respect, too. But we need to do so while respecting other rights, and I feel that I have to stand up for the six-year-old girl in the changing room confronted with a 50-year-old male who is going through a tough time. I am standing up for the nine-year-old who wants to stand in first place at the Olympics but thinks, “What’s the point?” when a biological man will be there in her place.
I am standing up for the 12-year-old allowed to use pronouns at school who is being sold a story that she can be something that she never can. I am thinking of her after her transition, when she wakes up one morning when she is 25 and realises that she can no longer have children. She is growing facial hair, her health is generally poor, her bone density is down, her voice has broken, she has no real friends, and she has probably fallen out with mum, who is now broken for letting her take those puberty blockers and hormone replacement tablets. I am thinking of that girl sold a lie by the influencers who have now moved on to another ideology to make them money. No—in this place, we have to make the hard decisions to protect the vulnerable. I know the Government will make the right decision and clarify the Equality Act.