Chris Bryant on LBC. (Twitter/@LBC)
Labor MP Chris Bryant was praised for his “precise and reasonable” answer to the question “what is a woman?” calls the subscriber on LBC.
The MP for Rhondda, Wales, who is gay, attended the LBC. phone in on Tuesday afternoon (August 30) to discuss the bitter race for the Tory lead.
After both Tory leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak commented that trans women are not women, one of them asked Bryant, “What is a woman?”
Bryant replied, “Well, I know the difference between a man and a woman. The man has a penis. The woman has a vagina.
“There are, of course, some medical situations where people are born a little differently. These are very rare exceptions,” he added, referring to intersex people.
“Also, there are people who feel they are trapped, and I have a lot of sympathy for someone who feels the need to transition.”
This is clearly not what the caller wanted to hear. He told Bryant that the difference between men and women comes down to whether they have XY or XX chromosomes, which are “unchanging”.
So what does transition mean? the caller asked.
— BBC (@BBK) August 29, 2022
“I think I answered your question,” Bryant replied.
“I tell you, what really scares me at the moment is the politicians who want to use this issue to stir up divisions, because for me your right to live the way you want and feel comfortable is absolutely inherent in a decent society.
“Today, as a gay man, I am more afraid of what the future holds for me than I was five years ago. Let’s move on.”
Chris Bryant’s calm and collected response to the caller was praised by Twitter users.
“May I thank you for this perfectly accurate and reasonable answer?” tweeted trance TV presenter, India Willoughby.
“Thank you for your support of transgender people and for showing the context of the issue. Man of principle”. added another user.
There is no easy answer
From politicians to the media, trans rights have become a major culture war for the powerful in recent years.
Boris Johnson’s government has been a huge driving force in this – excluding transgender people from the ban on conversion therapy, targeting them playing sports or receiving medical care, and often making cruel jokes at their expense.
The press picked up on it too. According to a study by press regulator IPSO, coverage of transgender people in British newspapers has increased by 400% in the last decade. The lighting was described as “hot” and “harsh”.
Increasingly, politicians are being asked to define “what is a woman”, usually by hostile transgender journalists, and always in an attempt to get them to reveal whether they consider trans women to be women.
But the answer to the question “what is a woman”, so often asked by journalists to politicians amid the crisis in the cost of living, the Ukrainian-Russian war and Brexit, does not have a simple answer.
Chromosomes are the body’s operating instructions and determine everything from body parts to hair color. But sex chromosomes can occur in many combinations beyond the usual XY and XX, so it’s certainly not a binary.
Moreover, sex is not necessarily determined by chromosomes or sex. Under the Equality Act 2010, a trans woman is protected from discrimination and has the right to be treated like any other woman. The same is true for any transgender person.