Skip to content

Women’s sports, change rooms no place for ‘biological males’: Poilievre

Conservative leader’s statement in line with a Conservative policy resolution last fall
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre holds a press conference in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. Poilievre says he believes “biological males” have no place in sports or change rooms that are labelled female. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre waded further into cultural battles on gender identity on Wednesday when he stated his belief that “biological males” have no place in sports or change rooms that are labelled for females.

He was asked at a news conference 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 said he believes “female spaces should be exclusively for females, not for biological males.”

That falls in line with a policy resolution Conservative party members overwhelmingly 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.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attacked Poilievre over his comments while speaking to reporters in Edmonton, accusing the Opposition leader of targeting “some of the most vulnerable people in society.”

Politicians like Poilievre would rather drive political wedges and sow division than focus on offering “concrete solutions for the big problems that all Canadians are facing in their daily lives,” Trudeau said.

Public opinion polls show the Liberals continue to trail their Conservative rivals.

Poilievre said on Wednesday 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 that Poilievre has publicly taken a position on issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation.

Earlier this month, he was asked about Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s controversial plan to prevent young people from accessing gender-related therapies like hormones and puberty blockers.

Children should be able to make such choices about their bodies “when they’re adults,” Poilievre said. Asked directly whether he opposes 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.

Conservative premiers 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.

Trudeau has accused the premiers and Poilievre of attacking transgender rights — and the Conservative leader in particular of seeking to deny parents the ability to do what’s right for their kids, in consultation with doctors.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Poilievre’s statement shows he doesn’t care about what Singh called “the epidemic of violence” facing women across the country and solutions like boosting funding for shelters.

“He’s not serious about actually protecting women,” Singh told a news conference Wednesday in Toronto.

The real threats faced by women are from male partners, Singh said, adding that “the real threat against women in sports is discriminatory pay … and violence by coaches against women.”

READ ALSO: Child safety, not censorship, the focus of online harms bill: Trudeau