UK

Sajid Javid condemned for saying it’s a ‘scientific fact’ that only women have cervixes

Patrick Kelleher September 26, 2021
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Hundreds of trans men and non-binary people have written to Sajid Javid about NHS 'failures' regarding trans healthcare.

Sajid Javid. (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Health secretary Sajid Javid is facing strident backlash after he said it was a “scientific fact” that only women have cervixes.

Javid made his comments after Labour leader Keir Starmer touched on the subject in an interview with Andrew Marr on BBC One.

In that interview, Keir Starmer was grilled on comments made by Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield, who faced criticism when she tweeted last year that “only women have a cervix”.

Starmer replied: “It is something that shouldn’t be said, it is not right.”

Shortly after the interview aired, Tory health secretary Sajid Javid shared Starmer’s comments on Twitter, writing: “Total denial of scientific fact. And he wants to run the NHS.”

Sajid Javid’s comments distract from the real issues facing trans and non-binary people

Javid has been roundly condemned by LGBT+ people for his comments, with many replying to point out that a person’s gender is not determined by whether or not they have a cervix.

Twitter users were quick to point out that many trans women, non-binary people and some cisgender women don’t have cervixes.

Others drew attention to the fact that debating who does and does not have a cervix only serves to distract from the real issues facing trans and non-binary people, such as the crisis in healthcare.

The debate is just the latest chapter in Britain’s ongoing transphobic culture war. That “debate” has frequently erupted within political circles – but it was a tweet from Labour MP Rosie Duffield that generated particular controversy last year.

In August 2020, Duffield said “only women have a cervix” in a controversial tweet. She initially apologised for her comments, but she later doubled down on her views.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has generally remained tight-lipped on the issue of trans rights – but that changed during his Sunday morning (26 September) appearance on The Andrew Marr Show.

When asked if someone who believes only women have a cervix is welcome in the Labour Party, Keir Starmer replied: “Look, we need to have a mature, respectful debate about trans rights and we need to, I think, bear in mind that the trans community is amongst the most marginalised, abused communities and wherever we’ve got to in the law we need to go further.”

He continued: “And we want to go further on that. But whatever the debate is, it needs to be a tolerant debate and I’m absolutely sure our conference will be a place that is safe for the debate to take place, and it is.”

When asked if it is “transphobic” to say only women have a cervix, Starmer replied: “It is something that shouldn’t be said, it’s not right.”

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