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Rishi Sunak Steps Into the Culture War—It’s About Time

The date was October 4, 2023. Oxford-educated former hedge fund manager and current prime minister of Great Britain Rishi Sunak stood at the front of a room of Conservative Party members and made a groundbreaking announcement:

“A man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense.”

The words sent shock waves throughout the Western Hemisphere. The deputy prime minister of Belgium responded by calling Sunak a “bully.”

It’s easy to roll our eyes at the fact that Sunak’s point even bears repetition, so basic and fundamental as it is. But we can’t deny that the prime minister’s statement required a certain degree of courage in today’s heated cultural landscape. So many leaders ignore the culture wars, terrified to face a public flogging from the cancel mob; or even themselves capitulate to recite the new “truth” of the day.

So why did Sunak speak up, and how did we get here?

The “why” is easy enough. Sunak’s utterances of biological truth have been empowered by public opinion. A recent British Social Attitudes survey revealed a turn in the tide back towards common sense. Just 30 percent of British adults think someone should be able to have the sex on their birth certificate altered on demand, down from 53 percent in 2019.

A pendulum can only swing so far in one direction before it returns. The liberal establishment pushed its ideology so far that the sacrifice of women’s safety became undeniable. In neighboring Scotland, where the government has thrown its weight behind radical gender ideology, double rapists have been placed in women’s prisons—out of respect for their chosen gender identity. Where U.K. retailers have conformed to false gender orthodoxy, girls have reported horrendous experiences of exposure in changing rooms. And J.K. Rowling has been put through the wringer for her public defense of female-only rape crisis centers.

Perhaps this concerning encroachment on women’s rights would have failed to tip the scales—had it not been for the kids. A series of Freedom of Information requests found that the majority of English high schools, faced with an epidemic of gender confusion among hormonal teens, have been taking it upon themselves to secure a path to social transition for children without their parents’ knowledge.

Additionally, almost a third of high schools don’t operate single-sex toilets, one in five don’t have single sex-changing rooms, and almost three-quarters teach students that their gender identity could be different from their biological sex as part of the curriculum.

The social contagion has been set loose, particularly among girls. Thousands of vulnerable adolescents are being sent down a path that can lead to irreversible bodily damage, including a lifetime of infertility. And parents are tired of being cut out of the picture.

It’s now becoming increasingly clear to the public that demands to be recognized as a different gender cannot come at the cost of the welfare of women and children. And rushing vulnerable people into so-called “gender-affirming care” has not proven to be in their best interest. The claimed evidence of benefits from such treatment is dubious, and the harms to sexual and reproductive functions from gender transitioning are beyond doubt. Swedish and Finnish health authorities have already concluded from longitudinal studies that for most adolescents, the risks of gender hormone “therapies” outweigh any supposed benefits.

With Sunak now articulating a grounded belief in immutable biological sex, the U.K. government is finally showing signs of heeding the majority public opinion in defending the most vulnerable.

Yet, it’s sad that it takes a change in the winds of public opinion to convince our “Conservative” government to conserve basic truth. We needed them to hold the line long ago—acknowledging the immutable differences between men and women and legislating accordingly. Dating back to the sexual revolution in the 1970s, our leaders have diminished the unchangeable differences between women and men. In a push to make women “work like a man” in generating GDP, leaders forgot to protect, respect, and uphold the unique strengths and needs of womankind. We shouldn’t be fooled into thinking the assault on the sexes is anything new.

With election season hastening towards us and the polls looking less than positive for the Conservative Party, it will be a sorry state of affairs to look back on 13 years of Conservative leadership with such ruinous social consequences for men and for women. Let’s hope Sunak can maintain his brave new stance, and bring his party with him, to make a difference before they run out of time.

Lois McLatchie Miller (@LoisMcLatch) is a Scottish commentator and writer for ADF UK.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

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