Duncan Bannatyne has waded into the debate on transgender rights reform in the UK.
The businessman started a discussion on Twitter in response to a news article about about Marks & Spencer staff in Aberdeen who refused entry to a male changing room to someone who identifies as transgender non-binary.
Duncan, who owns a chain of health clubs across the country, questioned what more the Aberdeen shopper could have wanted than an apology from the retailer, after they said they’d never return to the store because of the trauma experienced.
The 70-year-old announced changing rooms and toilets within his own gyms would not be altered in the future, and claimed allowing non-binary people who had been born male into all-female toilets “could put women and children at risk”.
One social media user suggested transgender people should be allowed to use whichever changing room they wish.
The former Dragons Den star replied: “So a man is walking into ladies changing area. He says I am transgender, they say sorry and let him walk straight in amongst the ladies, young girls and children. Not in my world. Not gonna happen when I am there.”
The Clydebank-born entrepreneur also suggested Scots need to “stop” moves by the Scottish Government to make it easier for people to identify as non-binary.
When one social media user suggested training for staff to ensure gender issues are handled more sensitively, Duncan replied: “Ok then. If a woman starts to walk into the male changing area what should staff say to her? Equally if a man is walking into the ladies changing area, what should staff be trained to say to him?”
Transgender rights reform continues to polarise public opinion in Scotland.
The issue has caused a rift within the Scottish National party, with plans being abandoned last year which would have allowed anyone over 16 to change their legal gender within a day or brief waiting period.
There are still plans to include a self-identifying gender question on the next Scottish Census.