Rishi Sunak Courts Controversy After Statement On Transwomen, Here's What He Said

An old video of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's interview with a TV talk show has now gone viral. The video shows him saying that transwomen are not women.

New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

The first-Indian origin prime minister of the UK, Rishi Sunak, has already caught himself in a controversy over his views on the LGBTQ community. Just a day after he took oath as England's 57th Prime Minister, an old video of Sunak has been doing rounds on social media where he was heard saying that transwomen are not women. 

During an interview at TalkTV leadership hustings on August 25, early this year, when Sunak was asked, “Yes or no. Is transwoman a woman?”, Sunak answered in negative, "No". 

In another YouTube video posted by Mumsnet on April 27, Rishi Sunak was heard saying, "It is important to have compassion and respect for people’s views.” He goes on to say, “When it comes to questions like toilets or sports, you know, I’m of the view that biology is important, it’s fundamental, it’s critical to how we approach those types of questions."

In March, in another interview, Sunak endorsed former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's statement on the distinction between men and women. When Sunak was asked who a woman is, he said, "I think the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) put it very well. I completely agree with him." Earlier Johnson said, according to TalkTV, "When it comes to distinguishing between a man and a woman, the basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important."

However, prior to delivering the controversial statement, Sunak's stance on the LGBTQ community was quite the opposite. 

According to reports, speaking to LGBT+ Conservatives, he earlier said in August, "Prejudice against trans people is wrong. The Conservative Party is an open, welcoming family to everybody across society, no matter who they are and irrespective of their background."

A report by PinkNews further quoted Sunak as saying that Britain should be the safest country for queer people and no one should hide here for who they are. 

In August, when Sunak was running for the prime minister election and openly discussed his plans as one, he tweeted, "I have the track record of delivery, a clear plan to fix the biggest problems we face and I will deliver on the promise of the 2019 manifesto."

The 2019 manifesto touched upon trans rights through “we will vigorously combat harassment and violence against all religious groups, and against LGBT people.”

Activists argue that Sunak's stance on trans and women's reproductory rights has never been too clear. He was criticised for being absent during a voting procedure for extending same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland in 2019. 

Further, Sunak has generally abstained from voting about reproductive healthcare. He did not vote on access to abortion, introducing buffer zones for healthcare clinics in the UK and making the pills-by-post scheme permanent, which allows abortion pills to be available at home. It is only in 2021 that Sunak voted in favour of enabling the Northern Irish secretary to commission abortion services.

Rishi Sunak's Prime Ministerialship has received massive support from Indians on social media. The UK-born Indian-origin Tory MP has not only become the youngest person to become British PM but also the first non-white, Indian-origin, Hindu man to get elected to the post.