Piers Morgan Asks 'Nonbinary' Couple If He Can Identify as 'Black Woman,' 'Elephant,' Prompting Backlash

British journalist TV host, and talent show judge Piers Morgan | Reuters/File

Piers Morgan is receiving backlash for demanding the right to be able to self-identify as "a black woman" and an "elephant" during an on-air exchange with a "gender nonbinary couple."

As part of a larger series on gender identity on "Good Morning Britain," Morgan and his co-host interviewed "Fox" and "Owl" on May 17 who both say they are neither male nor female, or, what is now called "nonbinary."

The hosts admitted that the subject was confusing for them as they struggled to phrase their questions to avoid misidentifying someone by the wrong sex.

"It's not like I go around telling people I'm gender neutral. I'm just nonbinary. I just refuse to identity myself as a man or woman,'" said Fox, who claims to have been "assigned female at birth."

Fox distinguished gender identity from gender expression, saying, "My gender identity is nonbinary and my gender expression is more masculine." 

Owl, who claimed to be "assigned male at birth," insisted that it is "a system within our society" that assigns people their gender after being born.

Morgan clarified that he believes in transgender rights and respects people who felt like they were born the wrong sex, wanting "total equality" for them. But he indicated he was unable to extend that respect to nonbinary individuals.

"My confusion comes with the gender neutrality aspect to this," he said, stumbling over what pronoun to use.

Fox and Owl said he could refer to each one of them as "they," arguing that in their case it is a singular pronoun. This was not because they are both genders. The two denounced the idea of being a man or woman altogether.

"There's 71 different current Facebook ways of identifying your gender, including two-spirit person, gender fluid and all sorts of other stuff," the talk show host interjected. "Do you categorize yourself as any of the 71?"

Fox responded: "Well, it's wonderful to have all those different identifications."

"Is it? Or is it just a load of gobbledygook?" Morgan asked, appearing incredulous.

"Why do I have to [respect what people want to be called]?" he asked the two guests.

"If I turn around right now and say that I am a black woman," he continued, "if I just decided to identify myself as a completely different skin color to the one that I am, that would clearly be ridiculous, right?"

Owl and Fox rejected his line of argument because it was a "hypothetical."

Morgan pressed: "My problem with everyone just being able to identify themselves in any way they choose is where does that end?"

"If I now identify as anything, is anything fine? Can I be an elephant?" he asked. "Do I get afforded elephant rights?"

The Twittersphere was more than displeased, with viewers calling him "rude" and an array of insults.

London-based LGBT group Stonewall rebuked Morgan, stating that his "attacks on nonbinary people" were "damaging and offensive," arguing that "[n]o one has the right to deny another person's gender identity."

He replied in a tweet: "You want to deprive ME of the right to have a different opinion? How ironic."

Other like-minded commenters were upset at his failure to "respect other people's rights to define themselves."

Whether one can self-determine gender has been an ongoing spirited debate in England.

The Christian Post reported May 16 that a historic London private school, the Highgate School, is considering adjusting its uniform policy to allow boys to wear skirts if they so choose.

Highgate School headmaster Adam Pettitt said the school is "exploring" how to "evolve" this policy in order to "cater for those who do want to match clothing to gender, as well as those who don't."

Follow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow Follow Brandon Showalter on Facebook: @BrandonMShow

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