'Changing clothes doesn't change who you are': Putting on different clothes doesn’t make you trans, says Kemi Badenoch

3 June 2024, 09:13 | Updated: 3 June 2024, 09:50

Kemi Badenoch joins Nick Ferrari: Watch again

By Emma Soteriou

Putting on a different set of clothes does not make you transgender, Kemi Badenoch has said.

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It comes as Rishi Sunak has pledged to change the Equality Act to prevent biological males from accessing women-only spaces if the Tories win the election.

Speaking on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Ms Badenoch said the intention was to create clarity in the law in order to protect the most vulnerable.

"Changing your clothes doesn’t change who you are," Ms Badenoch said. "We want people who are trans to be protected as well.

"People who want to change their clothes should not be able to exploit the scenarios we have prepared and the laws we’ve put in place to protect those people who are genuine transgender people or suffer from gender dysphoria.

"Just putting on a different set of clothes does not make you transgender."

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The Conservatives have also vowed to block the Scottish and Welsh governments from interpreting the Act differently - by declaring the issue as a reserved matter for the UK Government alone.

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

“The Conservatives believe that making this change in law will enhance protections in a way that respects the privacy and dignity of everyone in society.

“We are taking an evidence-led approach to this issue so we can continue to build a secure future for everyone across the whole country.”

The Conservatives are waging "phony culture wars" and there is no need to unpick the Equality Act, the Liberal Democrats have said.

Deputy leader Daisy Cooper told Lisa Aziz on LBC News: "I think we need to see this announcement for what it is, and I do think this is a cynical distraction form their failings on so many issues, like the economy, like the cost-of-living crisis, like the NHS, like social care, like protecting our local environment and tackling the issue of raw sewage discharge.

"I think the Government is failing on so many counts - time and again we have seen how it tries to wage these phony culture wars.

"On the specifics of the proposal, Liberal Democrats have said that, of course, where there is confusion within service providers there could be better guidance, but I really don't think there's any demand to unpick, or any need to unpick, the Equality Act itself.

"It's been in place since 2010, it includes hard-won protections for women and for trans people and lots of other different groups with protected characteristics."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launches the Conservative campaign bus at Redcar Racecourse in the in the North East of England while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture date: Saturday June 1, 2024.
Tory leader Rishi Sunak said: “The safety of women and girls is too important to allow the current confusion around definitions of sex and gender to persist.". Picture: Alamy

Ms Badenoch previously said: "Whether it is rapists being housed in women’s prisons, or instances of men playing in women’s sports where they have an unfair advantage, it is clear that public authorities and regulatory bodies are confused about what the law says on sex and gender and when to act – often for fear of being accused of transphobia, or not being inclusive.

"That is why we are today pledging that, if we form a government after the election, we will clarify that sex in the law means biological sex and not new, redefined meanings of the word.

"The protection of women and girls’ spaces is too important to allow the confusion to continue."

While Labour have not made any policy announcements on gender since the election was called, leader Sir Keir Starmer said he believes a woman is an ‘adult female’ as he was quizzed on gender during an interview last year.

File photo dated Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch who has told firms to focus on delivering for customers rather than 'activism or political causes'.
Equalities Minister and Tory candidate for Saffron Walden Kemi Badenoch said: "That is why we are today pledging that, if we form a government after the election, we will clarify that sex in the law means biological sex and not new, redefined meanings of the word. Picture: Alamy
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, at the launch event for Labour's campaign bus at Uxbridge College, while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture date: Saturday June 1, 2024.
At Labour’s national policy forum in 2023, the party announced it was ditching plans which would allow people to change their legal gender via self-identification (without a medical diagnosis). Picture: Alamy

At Labour’s national policy forum in 2023, the party announced it was ditching plans which would allow people to change their legal gender via self-identification (without a medical diagnosis).

Speaking during a phone-in interview afterwards, Sir Keir expanded on Labour's stance following the policy change.

He addressed the division caused by the Scottish government’s self-identification law earlier this year, which was blocked by Rishi Sunak’s government, as he argued it was the wrong step forward in Scotland.

“We don't agree, we don’t think that self-identification is the right way forward,” he said of Scottish Labour’s decision to report the reform.

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