Britain’s Labour MP Rosie Duffield has been in hot water with trans activists for expressing her views that “only woman have a cervix”. The lawmaker is missing a Labour conference in Brighton this year over the controversy generated by her remarks.
Tories and Labour lawmakers have been at loggerheads over trans issues, as Health Secretary Sajid Javid has accused Sir Keir Starmer of being in “total denial” of science for his views that transgender people with female genitalia should not necessarily be called women.
The head of the Labour party appeared on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One on the weekend to say that it was wrong for his own party-mate Rosie Duffield to say that “only women have a cervix” while she was discussing cancer screening for trans individuals.
The MP for Canterbury was branded transphobic for her comments and decided not to attend the ongoing Labour conference in Brighton this year over the row. The lawmaker was apparently left fearing for her life following threats she allegedly received.
Duffield, however, later clarified that she’d made the decision not to attend the party gathering not because she thought that she was going to be “attacked” but in a bid not to become “the centre of attention”.
Starmer said on BBC that he had reassured the lawmaker that the conference was “a safe place for her to come” but still argued that he didn’t agree with her views:
“It is something that shouldn’t be said. It is not right,” Starmer told Andrew Marr.
The Labour leader argued that trans individuals were among the “most marginalised and abused communities” and called for “mature and respectful debate” on the issue.
In response, Health Secretary Sajid Javid mocked Starmer’s “total denial” of science on Twitter.
“And he wants to run the NHS,” Javid wrote.
His stance got support from fellow Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price, who said that Starmer was simply wrong: “Only women have a cervix,” the former minister argued.
The NHS advises that people with cervixes who identify as trans and non-binary should get smear tests that are important for identifying cancer. As per the rules, those trans-men who are registered with their doctors as females get invited automatically, while others have to ask for the tests specifically.
The issue for the correct name for individuals with female genitalia has been in the headlines in Britain over the past year. Last summer, best-selling Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling generated a lot of hate after questioning whether “people who menstruate” could be called anything else than “women”.