United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak went viral this week for a speech in which he said no one should be “bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want.”
Sunak, the first British Asian to hold the high office, said in his remarks at the Conservative Party conference on Wednesday that “a man is a man, and a woman is a woman,” which was met with loud applause by the party faithful.
“We are going to change this country, and that means life. Now, that shouldn’t be a controversial position,” Sunak said. “The vast majority of hard-working people agree with it. It also shouldn’t be controversial for parents to know what their children are being taught in school about relationships. Patients should know when hospitals are talking about men or women.”
“And we shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can’t. Man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense,” the U.K. leader said.
Sunak went on to say that “we should also never be afraid to talk about the thing that matters most to us – family.”
“Whenever you want to talk about family, someone whispers, ‘Is that wise, Prime Minister?’”
“You’ll be accused of promoting a once-size-fits-all view. But in this Conservative Party, the party that legislated for same-sex marriage and is investing record amounts in child care, we know that love cascades down the generations,” he said.
Sunak’s comments come as the British government announced that hospitals would not allow non-biological women in female hospital wards and prevent convicted sex offenders from changing their gender.
On Tuesday, The Telegraph reported plans for U.K. Health Secretary Steve Barclay to announce proposals to push back against “wokery” in the health service that has led to women’s rights being increasingly sidelined.
The changes would give men and women the right to be cared for on wards only shared by people of their same biological sex and to have intimate care provided by those of the same sex.
Barclay said the plan would mean the return of “a commonsense approach to sex and equality,” ensuring that women’s dignity is protected and that their voices are heard, the outlet reported.
The proposals follow concerns from patients and staff about biological men being allowed in women’s hospital wards. In 2021, National Health Service (NHS) guidance said trans patients could be placed on single-sex wards on the basis of the gender with which they identified. Barclay also announced the return of “sex-specific” language to the NHS after references to women were expunged from advice on menopause and diseases such as cervical and ovarian cancer.
“We need a commonsense approach to sex and equality issues in the NHS. That is why I am announcing proposals for clearer rights for patients,” Barclay told The Telegraph.
“And I can confirm that sex-specific language has now been fully restored to online health advice pages about cervical and ovarian cancer and … menopause. It is vital that women’s voices are heard in the NHS and the privacy, dignity and safety of all patients are protected,” he said.