The panelists on daytime talk show Loose Women have come under fire following a discussion on the presence of trans people on single-sex wards in UK hospitals. With the exception of Stacey Solomon, the hosts expressed transphobic rhetoric that backed the exclusion of trans women from the NHS’ female wards, as well branding trans women as “men who identify as women”.
The debate was prompted by an article written in The Daily Telegraph entitled “Trans row as men get access to women’s NHS wards”. The article, which had been labelled as an example of “gutter press journalism” reported on how trans women are treated on women’s wards in British hospitals.
Gloria Hunniford said:
“I’m very clear cut, because I like the idea of separate wards for men and women. If I was walking around with a gown open at the back and my rear end sticking out, I would not want a man in the bed across the road.
“I think if a man still has his willy and has all the tackle, far as I’m concerned, he/she is a man, and I don’t think that works in a woman’s ward.
“I really understand it, but when you’re in a hospital you’re ill or susceptible, but I would be embarrassed.”
Stacey Solomon was the sole member of the Loose Women panel to back the rights of trans people:
“I totally see where you’re coming from, but just because someone identifies as a woman but hasn’t had the operation – which is a really extreme operation – they have all their life felt like a woman.”
The singer continued:
“All their lives they felt like they’re inside the wrong body. For me personally, if you wouldn’t want to be on a ward with the opposite gender, these women feel exactly the same as you. They do not want to be on a ward with men.”
Stacey then affirmed that trans women are “women who identify as women”, but was interrupted by Andrea McLean saying “men who identify as women”.
Acting under the assumption that her transphobic opinions are felt universally by the general public, McLean objected to the presence of trans women on female wards in the UK’s hospitals saying:
“If there’s ten people on a ward, that’s nine people feeling uncomfortable for the benefit of one. Practically, how can you put the vulnerabilities of one trans person over nine?”
RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage called the panel out on Twitter, pointing out that trans women were completely excluded from the conversation thereby preventing a balanced, nuanced discussion:
“Here’s an idea Loose Women how about you have a TRANS woman on there to speak rather than be SPOKEN about? no one is equipped for this conversation and that’s NOT fair.”
Here's an idea @loosewomen how about you have a TRANS woman on there to speak rather than be spoken ABOUT? no one is equipped for this conversation and that's NOT fair
— michelle visage (@michellevisage) January 11, 2019
“Surgery and ‘all the bits’ does NOT make a woman. THIS CONVERSATION IS SO IGNORANT AND TRANSPHOBIC.”
The show received 30 Ofcom complaints after the debate aired.
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