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Poilievre against transgender women in female bathrooms, changing rooms, sports

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says he believes "biological males" have no place in sports or change rooms that are labelled female.

Poilievre was asked at a news conference Wednesday about his position on whether transgender women should be allowed in spaces that are labelled for women and whether he would introduce any legislation to stop it.

Poilievre told reporters he believes "female spaces should be exclusively for females, not for biological males."

That is in line with a policy resolution Conservative party members voted for at their convention last fall, which says women should have access to "single-sex spaces" in areas like prisons, bathrooms and sports.

The discussion also mimics debates across U.S. state legislatures that have prompted lawmakers to ban transgender individuals from using spaces that align with their gender identity.

Poilievre said many of the spaces in question are controlled by provinces and municipalities so it is unclear what role the federal government could play.

"But obviously, female sports, female change rooms, female bathrooms, should be for females — not for biological males."

This marks the second time in recent weeks when Poilievre has stated his position on issues relating to gender identity and sexual orientation.

He was asked repeatedly during a recent news conference on Parliament Hill about his stance on access to hormone therapies and puberty blockers for minors, following Alberta Premier Danielle Smith's proposal to restrict them.

He said he believes children should be able to make such choices about their bodies "when they're adults."

When asked directly whether he opposes the use of puberty blockers for gender-diverse youth under the age of 18, he said, "Yes."

Since becoming leader in late 2022, Poilievre has kept the party's focus on issues it sees as key to growing its support and winning the next federal election, including the cost of living, housing affordability and public safety.

But some among his base, including people who identify as social conservatives, are looking for more focus on cultural and societal questions around gender and children.

Premiers of conservative governments in Saskatchewan, Alberta and New Brunswick all introduced new policies that require schools to notify parents when transgender or non-binary students want to go by preferred names and pronouns.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused the premiers and Poilievre for attacking transgender rights.

When it comes to the proposed restrictions on gender-affirming medical treatments, Trudeau said Poilievre wants government to take away parents' ability to do what's best for their kids in consultation with doctors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2024.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press