The Mail on Sunday

Ban male-bodied trans women from ladies’ toilets, says Equality Minister

- By Glen Owen POLITICAL EDITOR

TRANSGENDE­R women who have male bodies should be barred from female toilets and changing rooms, a new Equalities Office Minister has insisted.

In the latest salvo of a Government war to protect single-sex spaces, Women’s Minister Baroness Berridge declared the law is clear that such places should be for biological women only.

She said: ‘Transgende­r people can be excluded from singlesex facilities if service providers have a legitimate reason for doing so and if exclusion is the least discrimina­tory way to proceed.’

Rules over trans women’s access to ‘women-only’ services are the subject of fierce public argument, with opponents insisting that those who identify as female but are anatomical­ly male should be excluded.

A similar debate has been taking place within Government, with female Ministers clashing with senior male aides in Downing Street to demand a tougher line. At the heart of the issue is the Equality Act, which states that organisati­ons cannot discrimina­te on the basis of gender reassignme­nt. However, the Act also contains measures allowing for female-only services.

Baroness Berridge, who was appointed Minister for Women in t he February reshuffle, works with Liz Truss, the Equalities Secretary, who is pushing No 10 to take a stronger stance on protecting women’s right.

Insiders say Ms Truss wants the Government to formally abandon proposals to let people ‘self-identify’ their gender and align itself with campaigner­s who believe that trans equality l aws t hreaten f emale- only spaces. But she has so far been overruled by Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings who does not believes the debate is a priority for most voters.

Trans activists such as Stonewall argue that the Equality Act means that trans women cannot be stopped from using female facilities.

A source said: ‘Liz is one of several Ministers who want to be much tougher on this, but Downing Street just wants the whole subject to go away.’

In her statement to the House of Lords, Baroness Berridge, a former lawyer and director of the Conservati­ve Christian Fellowship, said: ‘We must take the right steps to protect safe single-sex spaces for women and girls; their access should not be jeopardise­d

‘We are considerin­g carefully our next steps.’

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