In May 2021 and in the run-up to International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the United Nation’s entity for gender quality and women’s empowerment (UN Women), shared the stories of several trans and gender diverse people resisting, supporting, and healing.
We took the opportunity to write to the UN Women Executive Director, and board Executive Board Members, to commend them for their strong support of transgender people across the globe, and to highlight the need to ensure that all members of the organisation are inclusive of all people who identify as women or girls, or share lived the experiences of women and girls
Dear Sima Bahous, Åsa Regnér, Anita Bhatia, & Members of the Executive Board
New appointments to the UN Women Executive Board
We write to you all from our position as an organisation that provides gender affirming health and wellbeing services to trans and non-binary people globally, and a group of fierce allies and advocates of the individuals we serve.
We commend and UN Women’s consistent history of standing against the inequalities faced by transgender people and its strong support for NGOs with an interest in ensuring transgender people are fairly represented.
We particularly welcomed your International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia ‘Breaking The Silence (2020)’ and ‘Action and solidarity (2021)’ statements, and your platforming of trans women of colour sharing their stories of resisting, supporting, and healing (2021).
We acknowledge that in supporting transgender people, and their rights to equality and equity, UN Women may at times face significant backlash from groups that seek to ensure that the rights of transgender people are not progressively advanced.
We understand that at least one of these groups, the Women’s Human Rights Campaign (WHRC), has contacted you and specifically called for UN Women not to be ‘compromised by the advocacy’ of pro LGBT+ rights groups when appointing new members to the executive board. A letter to the UN Women’s executive board, detailing this request is hosted on the WHRC website.
We are also aware that the Women’s Human Rights Campaign, as referred to in their document published on the WHRC website and entitled ‘Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights’, only recognises women as ‘adult human females’, and excludes trans girls and women from their definition, as well as arguing for the “protection of women and children from medical experimentation” – a direct reference to globally recognised standards of gender affirming healthcare and wellbeing provision.
As a leading provider of affirming healthcare, we would be concerned should any member of the UN Women executive board hold similarly exclusionary views and how those views might negatively impact on the health and wellbeing of trans women and girls, and non-binary people globally.
As in the case of the chairperson of the UK Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Baroness Falkner; who, as reported in The Times on the 15th of May 2021, holds the view that it’s entirely reasonable for people be able to question trans and gender diverse peoples gender identities, and that of the UK Foreign Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Lizz Truss; who, as reported in The Telegraph on the 3rd of October 2021, has suggested that trans and gender diverse people should not be allowed to self-declare their gender and favours medical check instead.
As such we appeal to you, that as groups such as the Women’s Human Rights Campaign lobby you to exclude trans women and non-binary people from the invaluable work being carried out by UN Women, to ensure that any future executive board appointments and/or candidacies are only awarded to individuals who are inclusive of all people who identify as women or girls or share lived the experiences of women and girls.
We’re here to support those who wish to know more about the benefits of Gender Affirming Healthcare, and should you have any further questions about what we do, or the matters contained in this letter, please feel free to ask us.
Adi Daly-Gourdialsing – Current Affairs & Research Lead – GenderGP