The EHRC released a response to the UK women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch regarding the Equality Act 2010. They plan to change the definition of ‘sex’ to ‘biological sex’. This change would lead to the exclusion of trans people from all single-sex services and spaces, and has far reaching implications for the entire community.
EHRC responds to proposed amendments of the Equality Act
In April 2023, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published a letter as a response to the proposed change in definition of ‘sex’ to ‘biological sex’. They sent this letter to Kemi Badenoch, the UK women and equalities minister. Badenoch, alongside UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have outwardly expressed transphobic beliefs and statements, harming the community at large.
The EHRC’s letter serves as advice for Badenoch on the potential amendment to the Equality Act 2010. The Chair of the EHRC, Baroness Kishwer Falkner, stated that changing ‘sex’ to ‘biological sex’ would ‘bring greater legal clarity’ in several areas. Unsurprisingly, Falkner was appointed by Badenoch herself.
Exclusion of Trans People from the Equality Act
As of now, trans people with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) are allowed to access single-sex spaces. Meaning, trans women can attend a women’s book club and trans men may partake in men’s groups. However, if the definition of ‘sex’ is changed to ‘biological sex’, only women assigned female at birth would be allowed to attend women-only spaces. Essentially, excluding trans women from women’s groups and trans men from men-only groups.
This harmful rhetoric did not end there. Falkner also said that women-only spaces exclude trans men with a GRC. Thus, the change in definition would ‘correct this perceived anomaly’. To clarify, the Chair of the EHRC wants to include trans men in women’s spaces, further spinning the false narrative that trans men are confused girls.
Trans men are men and trans women are women. Whether they have a GRC or whether the Equality Act changes its definition sex, this fact will never change. A piece of paper or biological sex do not make you a man or a woman. Identifying as a man makes you a man. Identifying as a woman makes you a woman. That is the only prerequisite!
Falkner also stated that the change in definition would facilitate the exclusion of trans people from gay and lesbian groups. This is not a benefit and would only lead to a larger division within the LGBTQ+ community.
Moreover, she added that the EHRC believes redefining ‘sex’ would create ‘rationalisations, simplifications, clarity and/or reductions in risk for maternity services, providers and users of other services, gay and lesbian associations, sports organisers and employers’. Therefore, it ‘merits further consideration’.
Fighting for Trans Rights
The UK women and equalities Minister as well as the Chair of the EHRC are echoing a narrative pushed by anti-trans politicians and campaign groups. Trans people do not pose a threat to anyone, certainly not to cis people. However, some cis people clearly do pose a threat to the trans community.
It is disheartening to see the amount of transphobia in the UK Government and the EHRC. We are truly going backwards. They have continuously failed the trans and gender diverse community. They have failed to protect their rights as human beings and have decided to further strip the community of legal protections.
Trans people already face disproportionate rates of discrimination, violence and abuse. Gender-affirming healthcare is barely accessible and now, legal protections are being stripped from them by the same government that is supposed to support them.
Ultimately, the plan to change the definition of ‘sex’ to mean ‘biological sex’ is solely based in transphobia. It is a clear exclusion of trans people from all single-sex services and spaces. GenderGP’s Susie Green has recently shared her thoughts on the EHRC’s decision. You can read her statements HERE.