Why do Journalists Wrongly Conflate The Equality Act with The Gender Recognition Act In The Single Sex Spaces Trans Debate?
On the 29th of July, at precisely 9:00 am, the Telegraph published an article titled “Sir Keir Starmer has changed his trans self ID stance – but he needs his MPs to follow“.
The article authored by Suzanne Moore consists of “calling out” many trans-supporting Labour MPs after their policy change concerning Gender Recognition Act reform.
Ok, fair enough so far – but then Suzanne Moore writes this:
“Poll after poll show most people – and especially women – are rightly liberal and tolerant about trans women but when informed most of them retain male genitalia they are less comfortable with sharing refuges, prisons, changing rooms with them or having them perform intimate care.
Thirty-five per cent of people support gender neutral toilets, according to a YouGov poll last year and 48 per cent of Brits feel uncomfortable using them in public spaces. Sports, of course, has also been a big eye opener with each sporting body having to look at the manifest injustice in having athletes who have the advantages of having gone through male puberty competing with biological females”.
Now, I like Suzanne Moore; her writing style is pure genius, I am even a member of her Sub-stack, and as a trans woman, she has always defended me when transphobia from other group members reared its ugly head.
Even more remarkable was when I created my personal Twitter account, Suzanne was my very first follower. We do have lots in common we both fight for women who are oppressed and frankly get a ‘bum deal’ in this patriarchal, horrible society of ours that is often “anti-women”.
I also want to make it clear that I fully support the need for single-sex spaces, and I believe most trans women respect them. We all Self-ID into these spaces, and we make our choices based on numerous factors. None of us needs certificates to use them. We all know where we belong.
Sadly though, what Suzanne is saying is the repeat of a common mistruth that a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) gives access to single-sex spaces.
Having a certificate means you can:
- update your birth or adoption certificate, if it was registered in the UK.
- get married or form a civil partnership in your affirmed gender.
- update your marriage or civil partnership certificate, if it was registered in the UK.
- have your affirmed gender on your death certificate when you die.
It will not change your legal status as the father or mother of a child.
You do not need a certificate to:
- update your driving licence.
- update your passport.
- update your medical records, employment records or your bank account.
Note… nothing about giving access to single-sex spaces.
I asked Google’s Bard what a Gender Certificate does. The reply:
A gender recognition certificate (GRC) is a legal document that allows a person to change their legal gender in the UK. It is issued by the Gender Recognition Panel, which is an independent body set up by the government.
To be eligible for a GRC, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be 18 or over.
- You must have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a qualified medical professional.
- You must have been living in your affirmed gender for at least two years.
- You must intend to live in your affirmed gender for the rest of your life.
If you meet these criteria, you can apply for a GRC online or by post. The application process takes around 22 weeks. Once you have been granted a GRC, you will be able to change your legal gender on your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and other official documents.
Microsoft Bing AI agreed, saying:
A Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) is a formal document issued by the Gender Recognition Panel to legally recognise an individual’s acquired gender in the UK. It is issued under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and allows trans people to have their gender legally recognised in their acquired gender.
You can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate if you are aged 18 or over, have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria in the UK and have been living in your affirmed gender for at least two years. Having a certificate means you can update your birth or adoption certificate if it was registered in the UK and get married or form a civil partnership in your affirmed gender.
Nothing about single-sex spaces either – not surprising, though, because the Gender Recognition Act has nothing whatsoever with access to single-sex spaces, which is covered by the Equality Act 2010.
This is what Bard said about trans people and the Equality Act.
The Equality Act 2010 in the UK protects trans people from discrimination on the basis of their gender reassignment. However, it also allows for single-sex spaces, such as female-only changing rooms or domestic violence refuges, to be provided for the benefit of people who share a particular sex characteristic.
This means that a trans person with a GRC may still be excluded from a single-sex space if the service provider can show that the exclusion is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. For example, a domestic violence refuge may exclude a trans woman from a female-only refuge if the refuge believes that the trans woman’s presence would put the other women at risk.
The Equality Act does not specify what constitutes a “legitimate aim” or a “proportionate means”. This means that the decision of whether or not to exclude a trans person from a single-sex space is ultimately up to the service provider.
And Microsoft’s Bing AI?
Trans people can access single-sex spaces without a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). The Equality Act 2010 starts from the position that trans people, with or without gender recognition certificates, can access services and spaces which align with their gender. Trans women can use female-only spaces and services, and trans men can use male-only spaces and services.
I asked a further question from, Bing, as it was not very detailed:
Can trans women be excluded from single-sex spaces?
Yes, trans women can be excluded from female-only changing rooms and lavatories in certain circumstances. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provided guidance for when spaces could exclude transgender people from single-sex areas, but only if it was considered a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”, for example privacy or safety.
In reality, this is all very simple – a Gender Recognition Certificate (which I have) allows the owner to overwrite a birth certificate and allows a trans person to marry and die in their new gender. It gives the owner no automatic right to enter a single-sex space.
Not a refuge, not a prison, not a changing room.
When I mentioned to a gender-critical supporter of Suzanne Moore that Google’s Bard and Microsofts Bing AI chat confirmed a GRC did not give access to single-sex spaces, she immediately told me I should not trust either Google or Microsoft!
This just goes to prove that if you tell a mistruth often enough, people do believe it – the best example being the Brexiters and that red bus!
There are multiple examples from trusted sources to prove that a GRC does not give access to single-sex spaces. For example:
Women’s Aid: “We, therefore, support the principle of providing single-sex domestic abuse services, which is lawful under the Equality Act. Some members conclude that it is not appropriate to include trans women (including those with a Gender Recognition Certificate) in women-only shared spaces. We support their right to make this assessment as long as they do so lawfully”.
BBC: “This is the first time the EHRC has published guidance with specific examples related to the circumstances where this [exclude trans people] can be allowed to happen in England, Scotland and Wales. It would apply whether or not the person has a gender recognition certificate – a legal document that allows someone to change the legal sex on their birth certificate”.
Freeth’s Law: “The guidance confirms that service providers wishing to limit services to a single sex are legally able to do so, provided the reasons are justified and a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. This will depend upon the nature of the service and may link to the reason the separate or single-sex service is needed. For example, a legitimate aim could be for reasons of privacy, decency, to prevent trauma or to ensure health and safety. This justification also applies to legitimately excluding trans individuals from single-sex services, including those who hold Gender Recognition Certificates”.
The Guardian: “Guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission says that the justification could be for reasons of privacy, decency, to prevent trauma or to ensure health and safety. The body also advises that people who hold gender recognition certificates can be excluded from a separate or single-sex space as long as it is a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”
The Equality Act also covers the issue of trans people being able to participate in sports alongside cisgender people. Can you name a single trans woman athlete currently competing in the UK?
Me neither; there aren’t any – it is a false discourse except for an odd few trans women participating at a grassroots level in the few sports that are left as being inclusive after a transphobic campaign to exclude trans people and specifically trans women, from participating in meaningful competition in sport.
At TransLucent, we were horrified that UK Athletics effectively banned trans women from meaningful competition and made representations to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Their reply made it clear UK Athletics can. It also made the point that there is no court action to set any precedence. Again, not surprising because of the minuscule number of British trans women and trans men registered in a trans inclusion policy and participating in sports. Estimates are as low as 0.000.19% – or put another way, for every 511,318 cisgender people, there is one trans person.
Yep, British trans women are one hell of a problem!
A survey undertaken by the Intercom Trust on behalf of the NHS revealed that 71.6% of trans people wanted hormone therapy which for trans women results in being chemically castrated. We look back horrified that the state forced Alan Turing to be chemically castrated, but that is exactly what a large majority of trans women undertake voluntarily today.
Turing was a brilliant mathematician and computer scientist, but he also faced discrimination because he was gay. In 1952, he was prosecuted for “gross indecency” and forced to undergo hormone therapy. He died in 1954, at the age of 41, from self-inflicted cyanide poisoning.
The Intercom Trust report that 38.3% of trans people want genital surgery, but my research reveals that once undertaking hormone therapy, that figure increases dramatically because people then find their true self. Indeed, I can testify this is exactly what happened to me, spending a third of my already small pension pot in the process.
Why do Suzanne Moore, Sonia Sodia, Julie Bindel, Helen Joyce, Kathleen Stock, Maya Forstater, Hadley Freeman, Janice Turner, Cathy Devine, Victoria Smith and, indeed, a whole host of other gender-critical journalists writing for right-wing rags, social media or trans-hostile websites always appear to conflate the Equality Act with the Gender Recognition Act?
Well, it certainly suits the right-wing owners of the newspapers who want to create outrage, clicks and advertising revenue, creates fear in regard to GRA reformGRA Reform Gender Recognition Reform Bill - Scotland https://www.gov.scot/news/gender-recognition-reform-bill/ Published 03 March 2022 09:34 Part of Equality and rights Simplifying how trans people apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. See Also https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/mermaids-manifesto-for-gra-reform/ https://www.stonewall.org.uk/what-does-uk-government-announcement-gender-recognition-act-mean for trans people – and suits a Conservative government in their culture war against my targeted, demonised and marginalised community.
History will judge what is happening to trans people in this decade …. as we now know concerning the horrific treatment of Alan Turing seventy years ago.
To put it bluntly… it’s not right.