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BBC’s John Humphrys criticised for suggesting trans women are ‘men who think they are women’

Mayer Nissim October 18, 2017

John Humphrys on trans rights (Getty Images/Twitter/BBC)

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Today programme the show, John Humphrys has put together special reports on the changes in Britain in that time.

Today he controversially discussed the issue of gender identity, and you can listen to the half-hour segment in full here.

Not everybody welcomed his approach to the matter.

He opened the discussion by talking about the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality and anti-discrimination laws for gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

Related: What will actually happen if the UK adopts a ‘self-declaration’ gender recognition law?

Humphrys went on to call the expansion of LGB to more inclusive abbreviations such as LGBTQIAAP as “something infinitely more complex”.

“What’s being contemplated by many people now, in essence, is whether we’re on the brink of society where gender is itself an outdated concept,” he said.

“Are we facing the concept of a post-gender Britain? We’re already in tricky territory, even with something that’s been recognised by law – being transgender.”

Of the planned overhaul to the Gender Recognition Act to remove the bureaucratic hurdles currently faced by trans people, Humphreys appeared to misgender trans people.

“In other words, if a man thinks he’s a woman, all he has to do is fill in a form and say so, he doesn’t need to convince anybody else,” he said.

In conversation with Stonewall’s Bex Stinson, a transgender woman who identifies as a woman, Humphreys asked: “Do you have anything to prove that?”

When Stinson replied that, as well as her driving licence and passport, her “life experience is my fundamental proof”, he replied: “But you don’t have a certificate that says you are a woman?”

Humphreys spent much of the segment in discussion with The Times columnist Janice Turner, who has received much attention for her columns on transgender issues in recent years.

While some applauded the segment, many took issue with the choice of Humphrys as presenter and its content.

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More: BBC Radio 4, Bex Stinson, gender recognition act, janice turner, today, today programme, trans rights, Transgender

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