On the 22nd of April Women & Equalities minister Liz Truss outlined her intentions for trans equality. They sounded incredibly familiar
What did she say?
“First of all, the protection of single-sex spaces, which is extremely important.
Secondly making sure that transgender adults are free to live their lives as they wish without fear of persecution, whilst maintaining the proper checks and balances in the system.
Finally, which is not a direct issue concerning the Gender Recognition Act, but is relevant, making sure that the under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future. I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to lead their lives as they see fit, but I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making those irreversible decisions”
That doesn’t sound so bad, single sex spaces are important!
This talking point mirrors those of transphobic hate groups such as the LGB Alliance, Transgender Trend, Women’s Place UK and many others. They argue that single sex spaces must exclude transgender people (usually transgender women) as they believe that acknowledging trans people’s existence is an existential threat to women’s safety. Currently the Equality Act of 2010 is interpreted as covering the right for trans people to use the facilities most suitable to them. We are concerned that Liz Truss is possibly going to change Equality Act guidance to weaken trans people’s access to single sex services.
This would put transgender people in danger and risks deepening already prevalent inequalities.
But she says she wants to make sure trans people live without persecution!
She did. She also followed that with promising “checks and balances” in the current system. She is talking about the Gender Recognition Act of 2003 which allows transgender people to change their legal gender. Transphobic hate groups argue that this apparatus is too loose, could be open to abuse and would result in cisgender women being put in danger. This is nonsense as Denmark, Malta, Argentina, The Republic of Ireland, Canada, many States in the US have much looser restrictions on changing legal gender. Sexual assault rates have not risen as a result.
Here in the UK trans people have been able to change legal gender since 2003 and yet nobody seemed to notice until the government’s 2015 transgender equality enquiry. The ramping up of anti-trans sentiment since 2015 has made the UK infamous for its transphobia globally, mostly due to an incredibly hostile media environment.
What about protecting under-18s from irreversible decisions?
This is much easier to explain. Truss has implied that she wants to ‘protect’ under-18s from accessing transgender related healthcare treatments. It is unclear how she intends to do this but the fact is that if provisions for transgender healthcare are restricted or withdrawn the potential cost on the mental health of young transgender people will be astronomical.
Trans healthcare for young people saves lives.
This sounds bad, what can I do?
If you are a cisgender woman, please read and sign the open letter. If you are not a cis woman, please share this with every cisgender woman you know!
Who are you?
We are a group of cisgender women who come from all walks of life and want to make the message as clear as possible: trans people are of no threat to us. Trans equality is of no threat to us. You can contact us here.
What will you do with my data?
Simply publish everything you submit (except submissions to the suggestions box) on this website under the letter itself once we are ready to deliver the letter to Liz Truss. We will not keep your data and we will not pass it on. This open letter may appear in news coverage at some point so take that under advisement before signing.