Angela Rayner has hit out at people asking whether women can have penises amid the ongoing transgender debate, saying it is unacceptable to question people about their genitalia.
The topic intensified after Lia Thomas became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming title earlier this month.
Her victory sparked vicious debate as to whether trans athletes should be allowed to compete in female events.
Speaking on the topic, Ms Rayner said: “When we debase it to whether or not… what genitalia you’ve got, I think all that does is damage people and it doesn’t help us go forward on some of the real issues that people are facing.
Lia Thomas's victory sparked mass debate Brett Davis
“I think we should be protecting women’s spaces – of course we should – and we should be supporting people who are going through transition.”
The Labour deputy leader's interview with Sky News came after Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer was asked whether women could have penises during an interview.
In reply to the question, Sir Keir said: “I don’t think we can conduct this debate. I don’t think discussing this issue in this way helps anyone in the long run.
“What I want to see is a reform of the law as it is, but I’m also an advocate of safe spaces for women.
“I want to have a discussion with anybody who genuinely wants to find a way through this."
He added in his conversation with LBC: “I do find that too many people, in my view, retreat or hold a position which is intolerant of others and that’s not picking on any individual at all. But I don’t like intolerance, I like open discussion."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also waded in on the debate.
A statement from his official spokesperson on Monday said: “When people want to make the transition in their lives, they should be treated with maximum possible generosity and respect.
“And we have systems in this country that allow it and have done for a long time. We should be very proud of it.
“But obviously you made the point about the importance of the basic facts of biology.”