Labour MP warns against gender-critical activists wanting women to show passports in public toilets

Angela Eagle speaking during a conference.

Labour MP Angela Eagle has publically shamed anti-trans activists for wanting to police public toilets over the mere existence of trans people.

Eagle, who has represented Wallasey, on Merseyside, since 1992, made the comments during an event at the Trades Union Congress, in Liverpool, on Monday (11 September).

Her speech followed criticism of equalities minister Kemi Badenoch in the wake of suggested changes to the 2010 Equality Act, which would define sex as “biological sex”, thus removing a number of protections for trans and non-binary people.

Eagle accused the Conservative MP of forcing trans people to use the wrong toilets and putting gender-non-conforming people in danger.

“While that may affect a small number of people, the actual effect is that loads of gender-non-conforming women will effectively be being policed in their use of public facilities,” Eagle said.

“We’ve never had to show a passport to get into the toilet before. I dread to think what else they might want us to show if they change the law.”

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Kemi Badenoch walks through parliament gates.
Kemi Badenoch has come in for criticism. (Getty)

In April, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published a response letter after Badenoch requested advice on changing the definitions in the Equality Act.

EHRC chairwoman, Baroness Kishwer Falkner, said in her response that, while there was no “straightforward balance,” the watchdog believed that defining sex as strictly biological would “bring greater legal clarity” in areas of the law.

These include excluding trans women from women’s sports, as well as preventing transgender people accessing public facilities and single-sex spaces.

“On balance, we believe that redefining ‘sex’… to mean biological sex would create rationalisations, simplifications, clarity and/or reduction in risk of maternity services, providers and users of other services,” the letter said.

It also acknowledged that, currently, trans men and women are able to have their legal sex recognised through a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Changing the definition of sex would effectively nullify this.

Eagle warned that such a change could prompt women and non-binary people to be “challenged” when using public toilets, saying that “butch-looking women” could be at risk.

Examples of this have already occurred. In October, TIkTok user creatingjayrose, who is cisgender, said she was harassed by an individual because she had short hair, meaning they assumed she was trans.

“This is all about recreating and enforcing appearance, behaviour, making certain that you actually behave and look the way your sex, your gender, ‘ought’ to look,” Eagle continued.

LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall said the EHRC’s letter “fails to recognise that the Equality Act has successfully supported business and service providers to challenge discrimination”.

Officials are “fundamentally wrong”, Stonewall went on, to imply trans women do not experience sexism, and that the move risks another opening in “a manufactured culture war that will see little benefit to women – trans and cis alike”.