As war rages in Europe and inflation rockets, the Tory party is tearing itself apart in its hunt for a new leader. Only days into the contest, the transgender debate is emerging as a key issue that divides the candidates. It’s a mistake to think of it as a niche issue: the question of women’s toilets and pronouns has the power to derail a leadership bid, as Penny Mordaunt may soon find out.
Something dramatic happened in the House of Commons yesterday [1 March 2021]: Penny Mordaunt told MPs that ‘transmen are men and transwomen are women’. This mantra – for that is what it is – has been said so often in recent years that it might now be an unremarkable way in which to wind up a debate. But it is a worrying sign to see it repeated so unthinkingly in parliament.
When equalities minister Penny Mordaunt launched the consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act she declared that “trans women are women”. Whether anyone really believes this remains to be seen. Yet our political leaders are willing to endorse this Orwellian thinking, and when it comes to the transgender debate, objective truth plays second fiddle to political expediency.