Labour’s Wes Streeting no longer stands by statement ‘trans women are women’

Labour MP Wes Streeting has expressed regret over previously stating “trans men are men, trans women are women… get over it.”

The shadow health secretary said that despite previously wanting people to “get over” the issue of trans people’s gender identities, he now believes there “are lots of complexities”.

Wes Streeting’s public U-turn follows the publication of the Cass report – an independent review into the structure of England’s trans youth clinics – which made several recommendations on how to change the model of care for trans young people.

Its key findings included claims that the majority of research into clinical guidance for gender specialists was of “poor quality” recommending that clinicians use “extreme caution” in administering medication such as puberty blockers or hormones for under-18s.

Streeting welcomed the guidance, saying that it “must provide a watershed moment” for NHS England’s youth gender identity services.

Speaking to The Sun‘s political editor, Harry Cole, on Wednesday (10 April), Streeting said he no longer stood by the statement “trans men are men, trans women are women.”

“To the extent that – and I say this with some self-criticism and reflection – if you’d asked me a few years ago, on this topic, I would have said ‘trans men are men, trans women are women, some people are trans, get over it, let’s move on, this is all blown out of proportion’,” he stated.

The Labour frontbencher, who is gay, added: “And now I sort of sit and reflect and think ‘actually, there are lots of complexities’.”

Pressed by Cole on his past support of trans people, Streeting added: “I absolutely take the criticism on the chin”.

Streeting admitted that there had been some “ugly rhetoric” directed towards trans people over the report, but that politicians have a “collective responsibility” to address what he described as the “scandalous” issues highlighted in the Cass report.

“I think we have got to ask ourselves: why is it that we have seen medical interventions that have been given on the basis of very weak evidence?” he said.

“How is it that clinicians have been silenced or afraid to come forwarded? Why is it that a group of young people who are extremely vulnerable are waiting years to access treatment?”

Experts dispute Cass report’s claims of ‘poor quality’ research

Much of the criticism centred around the Cass Report stems from its claims that a “considerable” amount of research into trans healthcare is of “poor quality” and its decision to disregard it.

Included in the Cass Report is a section on the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) – an internationally recognised organisation devoted to supporting trans people – which it claims lacks “developmental rigour.”

In an opinion piece on the report, Dr Natacha Kennedy, co-chair of the Feminist Gender Equality, criticised the report’s approach to analysing research.

Kennedy wrote that she believes the Cass Report is “attempting to establish an all-enveloping ambient conversion therapy approach to trans children,” saying that the report, if implemented, would remove “their autonomy, freedom of expression, mental health, helpful support and healthcare.”