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Rishi Sunak pledges to protect girls’ and women’s spaces for biological women by rewriting equality laws – if he wins election

Rishi Sunak pledged last night to rewrite equality laws to define sex as biological if he wins the election.

This historic change would help protect girls’ and women’s spaces for biological women by preventing sex from being confused with gender identity, the Prime Minister said.

This would have the effect of rewriting part of the Equality Act to prevent transgender women from accessing women-only spaces, such as single-sex hospital wards, crisis centers rape, prison cells and toilets, as well as participating in women’s sports competitions.

This includes transgender women who have undergone reconstructive surgery and those who have a gender recognition certificate stating that they have changed their sex. The new law would apply across the UK.

Currently, if organizers try to prevent transgender women from accessing women’s spaces, they face legal action and are sued for discrimination.

Mr Sunak would begin the process of drafting new primary legislation aimed at clarifying the law within days of a Conservative government being re-elected.

Rishi Sunak pledges to protect girls’ and women’s spaces for biological women by rewriting equality laws – if he wins election

Rishi Sunak speaks to reporters at Redcar Racecourse as he launches the Conservative campaign bus on June 1.

This historic change would help protect girls' and women's spaces for biological women by preventing sex from being confused with gender identity, the Prime Minister said.

This historic change would help protect girls’ and women’s spaces for biological women by preventing sex from being confused with gender identity, the Prime Minister said.

Critical gender campaigners, including former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, hailed the pledge as a victory for “common sense”.

The move is the latest attempt by the Conservatives to put clear blue water between themselves and Labor ahead of polling day on July 4.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer previously suggested no such law change was needed, after declaring in 2022 that “trans women are women” and that it is wrong to say that “only women have a cervix.

Writing in today’s Mail, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said: “Labor would take this back to square one. For years, they have aided and abetted those who place ideology above scientific fact.

In August last year, the Mail revealed how shocking guidelines drawn up by NHS chiefs meant patients who only occasionally identified as women were allowed to share female-only wards. This is regardless of whether they have undergone surgery or have legally changed their sex.

The plan to rewrite part of the Equality Act on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity was initially proposed by Equality Minister Kemi Badenoch.

Last night she said: “Whether it is rapists incarcerated in women’s prisons or cases of men playing women’s sports where they have an unfair advantage, it is clear that public authorities and Regulators are confused about what the law says about sex and gender and when to act – often out of fear of being accused of transphobia or not being inclusive.

In today's Mail, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said Labor would take us back to square one.

In today’s Mail, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said Labor would take us back to square one.

“That is why we commit today that, if we form a government after the elections, we will clarify that sex in the law means biological sex and not in a new and redefined sense of the word.”

Mr Sunak added: “The safety of women and girls is too important to allow the current confusion around definitions of sex and gender to persist. »

In April last year, the Equality and Human Rights Commission backed the proposed change.

Ms Davies, who campaigned to ensure trans women could not compete in women’s sport, said: “I’m extremely happy. There is a very big difference between wanting to be something and actually being something.

“I really hope that if this is clarified, we can now tackle all sporting organizations that discriminate against biological women by not providing equal opportunities to succeed in their own competitions, by allowing men in categories reserved for women.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, of Transgender Trend, said: “This is a return to common sense and reality by the government. »

Heather Binning, of the Women’s Rights Network, said: “We welcome any party that is committed to preserving gender-based rights. »

The sex of people holding a Gender Recognition Certificate will always be aligned with their acquired sex in law outside of the Equality Act, for example in the Marriage Act, as is the status quo.

Questions and answers

What is on offer?

This new legislation is passed, clarifying that ‘sex’ (male/female, male/female), as mentioned in the Equality Act 2010, refers to ‘biological sex’ and is not changed by a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Why is this necessary?

It will clarify the law so that sex is not confused with gender and no longer interpreted as anything other than the “biological sex” assigned to someone at birth. This clarification will make it easier for organizations to provide single-sex services and spaces because they will have greater legal justification to exclude people from certain spaces based on their “biological sex” at birth.

How will this happen?

A new piece of primary legislation, potentially only one or two sentences long, would be passed by Parliament, clarifying that “sex” in the law refers to “biological sex”.

Why hasn’t this been done already?

It’s not clear. Rishi Sunak voiced his support for the change last year. The election put this issue on the agenda in order to differentiate the Conservatives from Labour.

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