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BBC Segment on the Definition of ‘Woman’

A woman has the symbol for women painted on her face during a protest against violence against women in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 3, 2017. (Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)

Someone in Britain ought to buy Anna from Warwickshire a drink. On a BBC news segment “Your Questions Answered” with the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, Anna asked Swinson to define what a woman is.

SWINSON: Well, I know I’m a woman. And I think we do– we know what we are. And I think all women are important and their rights need to be protected, whether they are black, Asian, white. Whether they are gay or straight or bi; whether they have a very privileged upbringing, or they don’t have much money, whether they are cis [newspeak for actual women] or trans [newspeak for men who self-identify as women] whether they have a disability, we are all important, in all of those different ways.

ANNA FROM WARWICKSHIRE: So how can you tell what a woman is?

SWINSON: Well, I mean I’m just of, sort of, trying to understand, you know, what you’re getting at. I think we know when we engage with each other, we know if we are a woman. And I can tell you that I am, right? So, you know, we’re not going to start a scenario where we go and perform inspections on people, are we?

ANNA FROM WARWICKSHIRE: No. What if a man wears a dress to work twice a week? Is he a woman?

SWINSON: Not necessarily.

ANNA FROM WARWICKSHIRE: But could he be?

SWINSON: I think that people can understand their own identity. And I think it’s right to respect people in terms of their gender identity. And that’s for them to say.

[Emphasis/brackets added]

Then later:

ANNA FROM WARWICKSHIRE: Obviously we respect people, and everyone has a right to express themselves. . . but under self-identification [laws] what’s to stop a male sex offender walking into the changing rooms and saying, ‘Do you know what? Today I identify as a woman.’ Should we be kind and let him?

SWINSON: So, in a sense, I’ve gone into gym changing rooms, right? And I’ve never been asked for a certificate. Right? I’ve never been asked. So that’s not what you currently have right now. If anybody goes into a changing room and is acting in a way that is any way predatory or anti-social then the institution, the gym, or wherever it is, the swimming pool, should be able to take action on that basis. But what has happened.

ANNA FROM WARWICKSHIRE: But it’s a safeguard isn’t it, Jo? What we have is a safeguard from men, don’t we?

So, there we go. Jo Swinson, the leader of the third-largest political party in the United Kingdom, does not know what a woman is, and has promised complete reform of the Gender Recognition Act, which she does not understand the consequences of. Thanks again, Anna, for such excellent questions.

Madeleine Kearns is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute. She is from Glasgow, Scotland, and is a trained singer.

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