In the midst of the continuing conversation about transgender issues, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that women do not have penises.

On Thursday, Mr. Sunak was asked to comment on Labour leader Keir Starmer’s recent claim that “99.9% of women, of course, haven’t got a penis” as he was chatting with the ConservativeHome website.

When Mr. Starmer said to The Sunday Times earlier this month that there would be “no rolling back” of women’s rights if he were elected PM, he was under scrutiny for his self-identification as a transgender person.

“Sir Keir recently stated that “99% of women, of course, don’t have a penis. What proportion would you assign it? Paul Goodman, editor of ConservativeHome, questioned Mr. Sunak.

He had a “slightly different point of view from him on this,” the PM chuckled.

“I’ve made it very clear that when it comes to this topic, I think the first—” Mr. Sunak started to reply.

“Do you believe it is 100%?” Goodman cut him off.

Of course, Mr. Sunak said, “Yeah.”

“But I believe the most important thing to emphasise is that we should always show empathy, tolerance, and understanding for individuals who are considering their gender. Obviously, we ought to. We’ll never forget that we live in a kind and understanding culture.

transgender controversy

US President Joe Biden with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Picture: Jim Watson/AFP

Mr. Sunak continued, “I think the issue of biological sex is fundamentally essential when we think about those topics when it comes to these issues of defending women’s rights, women’s spaces, and I’ve said that often.

Under Mr. Sunak’s administration, Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch is debating a change to the 2010 Equality Act that would define “sex” to specifically mean biological sex and make it illegal to allow transgender people in single-sex areas like hospital wards.

In a letter to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Ms. Badenoch requested their opinion on the suggested change.

We are currently considering their suggestions for how the Equality Act ought to treat biological sex, according to Mr. Sunak.

“Biological sex is crucially, essentially significant in these matters, we can’t ignore that, is a broad kind of operational principle for me. And for that reason, we must ensure that we’re preserving those rights and those locations, especially when it comes to women’s health, women’s sports, or even spaces.

Following uproar surrounding the placement of dangerous trans offenders in women’s prisons in Scotland, notably double rapist Isla Bryson, the topic of transgender “self-declaration” has gained attention recently.

Bryson, 31, who formerly went by the name Adam Graham, committed two rapes while posing as a male and didn’t come out as transgender until after the offences had been reported.

The public outcry compelled the Scottish National Party to enact a temporary prohibition on the placement of transsexual offenders with a history of violence against women in male jails.

However, numerous critics pointed to the controversy surrounding Scotland’s gender policy as the major factor in First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation in February, which she justified by claiming the effect it had on her health.

Prior to resigning, Ms. Sturgeon announced the policy U-turn in a vehicle interview, claiming she had nothing to apologise for.

Ms. Sturgeon responded, “Trans women are women but… there are circumstances in which a trans woman will be in the male prison estate because of the nature of the crime,” when asked if she thought “all trans women are women.”

When asked if it was appropriate for women born as women to be in a male prison, she responded, “I don’t think there are circumstances there.”

transgender controversy

JK Rowling has been outspoken about transgender issues. Picture: Tolga Akmen/AFP

JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, was one of Ms. Sturgeon’s loudest detractors.

Campaigners for women’s rights like Rowling, known as Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, or TERFs, are frequently criticised.

She stated on Twitter, “Excluding women from women’s jails because they have penises, male pattern hair loss, and have committed a few rapes seems incredibly TERFy to me.

Mr. Starmer acknowledged that “there is a fear that somehow there could be the rolling back of some of the things that have been won” in his interview with The Sunday Times about the subject of women’s rights.

He declared, “There are still many battles for women to be fought, and I don’t think we should roll anything back.”

“99.9% of women, of course, don’t have a penis,” the Labour leader stated, adding that a “very small number” of people identify as a gender other than the one they were born with.

He demanded that the “toxic divide” regarding trans issues end.

transgender controversy

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

They require a structure and legal protection, he said.

The majority of people agree with it, and that is the paradigm in which we should view these concerns. The cause of women or individuals who don’t identify with the gender they were born into, however, isn’t advanced by simply turning it into a destructive split.

It followed his statement in late March that “I think that if we reflect on what’s happened in Scotland, the lesson I take from that is that if you’re going to make reforms, you have to carry the public with you”

“And I think that’s a very important message, and I think that’s why it’s clear that in Scotland there should be a reset of the situation,” he added.

Chris Hipkins, the new prime minister of New Zealand, gained notoriety earlier this month for having difficulty defining the word “woman” during a press conference.

In light of Mr. Starmer’s remarks and the recent visit of anti-trans campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, journalist Sean Plunket posed the query.

“I’ll be honest; that question caught me off guard. The biology, sex, and gender,” Mr. Hipkins remarked, pausing for a moment. “People define themselves, and people define their own genders.”