MPs will debate changes to the Equality Act on June 12, 2023, and supporters of transgender rights are encouraged to write to their MPs opposing any modifications.
On the 12th of June 2023, MPs will debate the possibility of making changes to the Equality Act. We would encourage all trans people and those who ally with our cause to write to their MP via the “Write to Them” website by clicking HERE. Personal letters are always best, but we appreciate that can be time-consuming, so a template letter that you can easily copy and paste is below. The Write to Them website will identify your MP from your postcode.
Or copy and paste text below …
On the 12th of June in Westminster Hall, the Government will hold a debate to consider changing the Equality Act. This debate has been framed as protecting Women’s ‘sex-based rights’. In reality, it is about the human rights of one of society’s most marginalised and demonised demographics – transgender people.
The Equality Act (EA), and its predecessor, the Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) (1), together with the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) have been on the statute book for twenty-four and nineteen years, respectively, and it is clear from both the lack of case law or evidence of issues that both Acts are highly compatible. It must be remembered that EA2010 is legislation that enables protection from discrimination, it is not legislation that confers rights.
The Equality Act 2010 and its predecessor, the SDA 1975, included Gender Reassignment (transgender people in transition and post-transition) as a protected characteristic because it was believed they needed protection from discrimination. That protection is now needed more than ever. Hate crimes against transgender and non-binary people have risen by almost 1300% in the last ten years, and hostile articles in the press about transgender people growing by an incredible 12,000%, now averaging around 1000 articles per month.
As the GRA predated the EA and effectively the SDA (amended 1999) (1) before the GRA came into statute, it has always been the case that those with Gender Recognition under the GRA are also protected under the category of their acquired Sex. Removal of this would significantly affect the life and protections of Trans people with Gender Recognition, some for as long as the GRA came into force.
Still, because the Equality Act generally works well, discrimination by service providers etc. has been minimal. If transgender people lost these discrimination protections by changing the Equality Act as ‘suggested’ (with caveats) by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in their letter dated 3rd April 2023 to Minister for Equalities Kemi Badenoch MP, that would change drastically.
Further, it should be noted that the United Nations Independent Expert on Protection against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Victor Madrigal-Borloz) visited the UK 24th April to 5th May 2023 with his end-of-visit report stating (2):
The Independent Expert was particularly alarmed by a 3 April 2023 letter from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to the Minister for Equalities, by which it advised that defining the term “sex” as “biological sex” under the Equality Act would “bring greater legal clarity” to the implementation of the Act.
In contrast, the Scotland Committee of the EHRC had itself on 28 February 2023 expressed concerns it did “not consider sufficient evidence has been presented to justify amending the definition of legal sex in the EqA [Equality Act] 2010 to biological sex at this time”, noting that “the Board should consider the risk to our perceived political independence if we are perceived to be aligning with Government in the absence of robust evidence. This is a potential existential risk that such a perception could risk the Commission’s existence going forward.”
Additionally, the committee indicated there had been no clear demonstration of a legal need or legitimate aim, even though “changing the definition of sex could diminish trans people’s rights; for example, legal colleagues advised that, if the proposed change were implemented, obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate would no longer change a person’s sex in discrimination law. The Committee considered the Commission should be advancing the rights of minorities and not potentially diminishing rights for some groups.”
In a meeting with the EHRC on 4 May 2023, the Independent Expert was shocked to hear that the EHRC offered that advice without itself having any definition of ‘biological sex’ – (emphasis mine).<
The debate on the 12th of June was secured after trans-hostile lobby groups (some with links to the far-right) secured more than 109,000 signatures, falsely attempting to show that EA2010 required amendment to replace ‘sex’ with ‘biological sex’.
This was achieved by enlisting the support of high profile trans hostile people with huge social media followings to artificially increase the number of signatories. In effect, this petition demands the ability to freely discriminate against transgender people by making false claims about both issues and rights.
These trans-hostile lobby groups contend that there are issues in ‘single-sex spaces’, but transgender people have legally shared these spaces since time immemorial without issue. Indeed, the first gender-affirming surgery in the UK took place 72 years ago, in 1951. Further evidence from TransLucent.Org.UK has proven that there are no issues in either Hospitals (3) or Refuges (4) – two primary locations quoted by those opposed to the human rights of transgender people.
In response, however, a counter-petition demanding no change be made to EA2010 achieved 138,886 signatories (5) – a difference of nearly 30,000 petitioners. In contrast, these signatures have been generated without any artificial attempts to show support where none exists.
I would urge you to support transgender people on the 12th of June by supporting the position that no change is needed.
Transgender people are human beings and need more protection in UK society, not less.
(1): Sex Discrimination Act 1975 amended in 1999 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/65/1999-02-15
Template Letter for sending to your MP
Cut and paste the sample letter text and send an email to your MP.
Make any adjustments you feel happy with.
Before sending your email, don’t forget to include:
- Your First and Last Name
- Your Address (To verify you are a constituent)