Gender Recognition

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 1:47 pm ar 6 Rhagfyr 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities 1:47, 6 Rhagfyr 2023

The hon. Lady questioned why certain countries are on the list and others are not. Again, I heard lots of laughter from Members on the Back Benches. I am going to have to reinforce this really important point: this is not a tool for foreign policy. This is a tool that is used to make sure that other countries’ systems are as rigorous as ours. I understand why people will have concerns, but this is not about virtue signalling as to which countries we like or which countries we do not like—far from it. This is about whether another country’s system meets our guidelines.

The hon. Lady talked about countries such as China. It is a very good question and I will explain to her why some countries that we might not expect to be are on the list. I will use the example of Kazakhstan, where to obtain gender recognition applicants must undergo gender reassignment surgery. That includes forced sterilisation, something which we condemn completely. It is banned in our country and is a form of conversion practice. Recognising certification for someone who has undergone that is a compassionate acknowledgement of what some transgender people in other countries have had to go through to obtain their certification. Are we really going to say to people with GRCs from China or Kazakhstan who have been forcibly sterilised by their state that we do not think they are serious about legally changing their gender? Of course not. That is why we have included certain countries. If people have gone through such extreme measures for gender recognition, we should not be giving them any additional issues here.

There are countries with which we work very closely, and with which we carried out a good deal of extended engagement. I am also the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, and I work with embassies across the world and Ministers across the world. I spoke to other countries’ Ministers about this issue, and they recognised the sovereignty of the UK. Ambassadors have been notified. We engaged in a great deal of collaboration with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office throughout this process, and we are monitoring the international reaction to the legislation. Members can be assured that diplomatic posts have been notified of the changes, and we have provided them with comprehensive question-and-answer documents that address any potential misconceptions about what this statutory instrument does.

That returns me to what I was saying about why I am so careful with the interventions that I make about equalities. Labour Members do not do their homework. They stand up in the Chamber and produce repetitive lines from social media. They think that they can use LGBT people as a shield for silly policy. We are going to do the policy properly: we are taking a lot of time to do this right. Along with my right hon. Friend Stuart Andrew, the Minister for Equalities, I am keen to ensure that LGBT people across the UK understand that this Government are making sure that we are doing things in a way that will not collapse once it makes contact with reality.