Oris Johnson has voiced her support for the exclusion of transgender athletes from women’s competitions as her government pressures sporting bodies to impose bans.
The Prime Minister has indicated he supports swimming governing body Fina’s ban on transgender athletes who have gone through male puberty after competing in women’s events.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries will hold a meeting with heads of other sporting bodies on Tuesday to make it ‘clearly clear’ that she wants them to follow suit.
Asked about Fina’s ban, Mr Johnson said: ‘I haven’t researched it in detail, but I see no reason to disagree.
After having him sum up the policy, he added: “It follows from what I said previously.”
Mr Johnson was also asked if a woman could be born with a penis, amid a debate in some quarters over anatomy and sex.
“Not without being a man, that’s my view on it,” the Prime Minister replied.
Speaking to reporters traveling with him during his visit to Rwanda, he was asked if he thought there was a difference between being a woman and being a trans woman.
After a pause to think, he said, “Yes.”
He added: “Listen, it is very, very important that as a society we are as understanding as possible towards everyone. I have always defended this.
“When you start moving from issues of sexuality to issues of gender, you start raising particular issues.
“I think I talked about three concerns I’ve had in the past. They relate to the age at which you can (become) Gillick transition proficient, the issue of safe spaces for women, and the challenges you face in competitive sports.
“These are all very difficult issues and you have to be very, very sensitive.”
When you start moving from issues of sexuality to issues of gender, you start raising particular issues
LGBT charity Stonewall slammed the line of questioning, suggesting the Prime Minister would welcome it as a ‘distraction’ from the political turmoil.
Associate Director of Campaigns Sasha Misra said: “The real question that should be on the lips of the nation is this: at a time when we are experiencing multiple national crises, why are journalists wasting time? valuable interview by asking the prime minister leading questions about a tiny, vulnerable minority?
“We know that the majority of the public feels supportive and compassionate towards trans people, who are their family, friends and neighbors.
“All that is achieved by this type of media coverage is that trans people feel less safe in their daily lives, and the public has fewer opportunities to hear from the government on the pressing policy issues of the day. .
“The Prime Minister might welcome the distraction, but he shouldn’t be fooled into thinking anti-trans talking points will win votes.”
Some have interpreted the Conservatives’ decision to intensify the debate on trans rights as a way of widening divisions on the subject within the Labor Party.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has in the past refused to give a definitive answer on the penis question.
Instead, he said, “I don’t think discussing this issue in this way helps anyone in the long run.”