Transgender people will not be legally entitled to use single-sex spaces such as toilets and changing rooms, the government has said.
Ministers said they had “no intention” of changing laws that allow female- and male-only areas, which some campaigners have said discriminate against trans people.
Pressure has grown for a change in the law after a series of incidents in which people self-defining as a gender that is different to their biological sex have been turned away from single-sex spaces.
On other occasions, objections were raised when men identifying as women were allowed to swim in women-only pools. Also, when a woman who requested a female nurse to perform her cervical smear test was treated by a man self-identifying as female.
Ministers said they would not change the law to make single-sex spaces illegal.
A petition was created for women to be consulted before any change to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). The GRA allows people to legally change their gender. The Government Equalities Office said: “We are clear that we have no intention of amending the Equality Act 2010, the legislation that allows for single-sex spaces.
“Any GRA reform will not change the protected characteristics in the Equality Act nor the exceptions under the Equality Act that allow provision for single and separate sex spaces.”
It added: “Providers of women-only services can continue to provide services in a different way, or even not provide services to trans individuals, provided it is objectively justified on a case-by-case basis.
“The same can be said about toilets, changing rooms or single-sex activities. Providers may exclude trans people from facilities of the sex they identify with, providing it is a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim.”