Fact of biological sex becoming ‘an unsayable truth’, says Times columnist

Children are suffering because of attempts to make simple scientific facts about biological sex and gender “unsayable”, a columnist has said.

Janice Turner, writing for The Times, said, “we have forgotten, or conflated, the difference between gender and biological sex”.

She criticised recent pressure by activists to change the laws regarding transsexualism.


Last month, Turner interviewed Maria Miller MP, who heads the House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee, and has been at the forefront of a push to introduce self-identification of gender.

Miller became flustered under questioning by Turner about proposals to further liberalise the law regarding transsexualism.

The Basingstoke MP threatened to leave the interview, complaining it was a “stitch-up”, but admitted that such changes were open to abuse.


Writing on Saturday, Turner recalled Miller telling her “‘we’re not doing enough for people who have no gender at all’. She made it sound as if they were born without an organ or a chromosome”.

Turner also argued that many who claim to be ‘gender fluid’ or ‘non-binary’ are actually just people who don’t conform to a perceived stereotype of male or female.

She said: “Rather than approving the right to put an X on your passport instead of F or M, we should aim to make the biological categories of men and women as big, generous and inclusive as possible.”

Facts not feelings

She went on to hit out at Justine Greening’s proposal to change the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to self-identify their gender.

This, she argued, was down to the “new orthodoxy”, which states that “whether you are a man or a woman is merely a feeling, an inner essence, which transcends biology”.

Noting that the World Health Organisation has removed a page from its website which outlined the biological differences between men and women, she concluded “biological sex itself is now controversial”.


In her column, Turner also highlighted the key role parents have to play in helping children to overcome the confusion that arises from putting feelings over facts.

“A friend’s daughter declared she was really a boy: after a long talk it transpired she loathed the dresses and flouncy hair she thought a prerequisite of girlhood. She cut her hair, wears jeans and is happy.

“Contrast with a mother featured in Radio 4’s iPM who believes her ten-year-old is ‘non-binary’ because she chose a pirate not a princess-themed birthday party.”

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