A leading fertility expert has said gender reassignment operations amount to body “mutilation”.
Robert Winston, a Labour life peer and a doctor, said people cannot change their sex because it is “genetically determined” and only gender can be changed.
Speaking on Piers Morgan Uncensored on TalkTV, he said: “We can change our gender. We can do it by mutilating ourselves.
“We can remove bits of our body and change our shape and so on but you can’t change your sex because that is embedded in your genes in every cell of your body.”
He added that the fact that sex is genetically determined “becomes a problem because of course occasionally you end up with somebody who is born a male but then wants to become a female, so you can have that mutilating operation”.
After making the inflammatory remarks, Dr Winston restoked the debate about transgender people competing in sport by asking if they should be allowed to compete.
He said: “But then the question is, should they be allowed to compete in sport because they still have some male characteristics that will give them an edge over other women?
“That is where the problem really lies. And social behaviour in different situations- using toilets, using bathrooms- which understandably worry women.”
His comments were responded to by India Willoughby, Britain’s first transgender newsreader.
She tweeted her disappointment at the scientist’s opinions.
“They can mutilate their body … ‘ @ProfRWinston. What a horrendous thing to say. [Trans] people have existed since time in memorial [sic], children as young as 3 know they’re the opposite sex. Every culture. Natural occurring. Your [view] seems to be anatomy rather than brain dictates who we are.”
One Twitter user replied to the tweet, saying: “Is that same language utilised for those who make the decision to have cosmetic surgery on body [sic] part? Or what about cosmetic dental work ? Is that “mutilation” too. Or just emotive language dressed up to cover transphobia?”
After months of political debate about transgender athletes competing in sporting events, last week British Triathlon announced there would be a new open open category for men, transgender women and non-binary athletes.