Allowing self-identification is not part of the UK government’s plan in supporting transgender people, equalities minister Kemi Badenoch said on Sunday.
The remarks came after a university professor resigned following a campaign to get her fired over her view on gender.
Kathleen Stock, a philosophy professor at the University of Sussex who opposes transgender self-identification, announced her resignation on Thursday, weeks after an anonymous group of transgender activists demanded the university fire her.
Despite having the support of the university’s leadership, the gender-critical feminist professor said she wanted to put behind her the “absolutely horrible time” fending off accusations from transgender activists.
Speaking on the Sky News’s “Trevor Phillips On Sunday” programme, Badenoch said the government doesn’t believe self-ID should be allowed.
The government’s position is to do everything it can to support “LGBT people, but trans people in particular when it comes to health care,” Badenoch said.
“However, we do not think that goes as far as self-ID, we do believe that there should be a process to get a gender recognition certificate, and the process does mean involving medical professionals as well.”
When told some transgender activists would say the fact she did not accept the statement “trans women are women” is in itself a form of violence, Badenoch said, “It’s sad that the debate has turned into one of name-calling.”
Badenoch said while the government believes in equality and fairness for all, “we should not get to a point where having a different opinion becomes a reason to insult other people. That’s absolutely wrong.”
Asked about her thoughts on Stock, the minister said she was “appalled” at the way that the professor was treated.
“Nobody should face bullying or harassment in the workplace,” she said.
Stock, who is known for her book “Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism,” has been targeted by some transgender activists since 2018, when she said that while “most trans people are law-abiding and wouldn’t dream of harming anyone,” transgender women shouldn’t be in spaces such as female-only changing rooms “in a completely unrestricted way” because many of them “are still males with male genitalia” and “are sexually attracted to females.”
Earlier this month, an anonymous group of activists campaigned to get Stock fired, calling her “one of this wretched island’s most prominent transphobes.”
Badenoch told Sky News she believes Stock “has every right to hold the beliefs” she has, and that her beliefs are “probably in step with the majority of the population.”
PA contributed to this report.