Sex is defined at birth, not selected later on, says BBC’s Jenni Murray

“Your sex, male or female, is what you’re born with”, leading feminist Dame Jenni Murray has said, as she spoke out against the “hijacking of language” by transsexual activists.

In an article for The Sunday Times, the Woman’s Hour presenter criticised moves to allow men who live as women to become guide leaders and the attempted renaming of breast cancer to “chest cancer”.

She also highlighted that there was a “lot of fear” from academics about the issue, following the sacking of a professor in Canada who challenged affirming transsexualism in children.


Dame Jenni was immediately blasted by LGBT lobby group Stonewall, which said transsexualism was about “an innate sense of self”, and to say anything else was “reductive and hurtful”.

The BBC has since “reminded” the presenter to “remain impartial”.

In her article, Dame Jenni said her concerns included the impact transsexualism is having on the “sexual politics” of being male and female.

And “who has the right to be included in gatherings or organisations that are defined as single sex”.

Radical activists

Highlighting the recent move by the girl guides to allow transsexual leaders, Dame Jenni said: “A worried parent who asked the NSPCC whether the charity would be concerned about any safeguarding issues — regarding the girls’ privacy or the risk of sexual harassment — was told there was none to worry about.”

She also criticised “radical trans activists” who want to stop speaking about female anatomy in relation to cancer or nursing a child.

“Sorry”, she said, “but I breastfed my kids and it was my breast that was cut off when I had cancer. No debate”.


India Willoughby, a man who now lives as a woman, called for Dame Jenni to be sacked over the comments.

Willoughby, who was discussed in the article, added: “Jenni Murray is a dinosaur and we all know what happened to them.

“Let’s hope a similar extinction is coming for her in the not too distant future.”

Responding to the row, a BBC spokesman said: “Jenni Murray is a freelance journalist and these were her own views, however we have reminded her that presenters should remain impartial on controversial topics covered by their BBC programmes.”


In 2015 a man who underwent a sex change reversal warned that surgeons are too quick to operate in cases like his.

Walt Heyer now advises people who want to have a sex change that their problem is psychological.

In January, the BBC broadcast a documentary which told the story of a woman who had been pressured into taking puberty blockers, then sex change hormones, and finally having major surgery aged 20.

‘Darkest moment’

‘Lou’ said: “I was very much told by the community that if you don’t transition, you will self-harm and you will kill yourself. I became convinced that my options were transition or die”.

She told the programme: “The darkest moment was when I realised that I had actually looked normal for a girl, that I had actually been slim and pretty, that my body hadn’t been grotesque the way I thought it was.”

Related Resources