The Women and Equalities committee has heard from four known groups which were set up to block the progress of trans rights in the UK. We believe this is a clear affront to the rights and dignity of trans people.
The speakers at the event, held to hear evidence on the GRA reform, were announced as: Dr Nicola Williams, Director, Fair Play for Women; Dr Judith Green, Co-founder, Woman’s Place UK; Raquel Rosario-Sanchez, Spokeswoman and Trustee, FiLiA.
Here we provide an overview of why we believe that giving these groups a voice at the hearing is in breach of the Equalities Act.
Women’s Place UK is a group that specifically formed after plans were announced to make it easier for trans people to change their legal sex by amending the Gender Recognition Act. Their aim is to counter efforts to reform the GRA.
In recent years it would appear that WPUK has widened its remit. According to Freedom News, WPUK, “Now appears to oppose everything from the current evidence based trans healthcare provision for young people to trans inclusion in sport.”
Fair Play for Women (FPFW) are closely linked to WPUK. They are another anti-trans rights group that was set up to campaign against reform to the GRA. They have since branched out into other efforts to erode trans rights and visibility in the UK. The information they provide about trans people on their website lacks any scientific, medical, or legal expertise, and instead seeks to perpetrate falsehoods which perpetuates a narrative that trans people are to be feared.
In October 2019, FPFW took out a full-page advert in the London edition of the Metro newspaper calling on people to oppose trans rights reforms. Previous tweets have been openly hostile towards trans individuals with the organisation being called out for its transphobic remarks in an article by Pink News.
FiLiA, a Women-led Volunteer organisation and part of the Women’s Liberation Movement, argues against “inclusive” language and features blogs by the the Director of Transgender Trend, an organisation which seeks to deny the existence of trans youth, describing them instead as being confused in their sexuality.
Speaking about trans boys attending GIDS they say, “Most of these girls, if left to go through adolescence without medical intervention, would grow up to be lesbians.”
The fourth group contributing are Trans Widows, who are not, as you might think, a group of trans women who are bereaved, but a group of women whose partners/ex-partners are very much alive – but who are trans.
We know from research commissioned by the U.K’s press regulator that stories about trans people have grown 400 percent since 2010, and have become more “strident” and “heated.”
“Anti-trans groups get incredible amount of space in public discourse and the media” Owl Fisher, a non-binary journalist and trans rights campaigner, told Xtra magazine. It seems that the normalisation of anti-trans voices and views is now spilling over into the area of human rights.
According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, public authorities have an obligation to take positive measures to protect human rights. These are called positive obligations.
In practice, these positive obligations include, a duty to provide information to those whose rights might be at risk, so that they are in a position to take action to protect their own rights, and that organisations will take effective measures to deter conduct that would breach human rights.
Given what these groups represent and their position on trans rights they clearly believe they have a voice in this debate but by giving them a voice is the Women and Equalities Committee suggesting that that they are in some way at risk from trans people?
How is a hearing on the improvements of trans rights ever going to get constructive input from contributors who are openly hostile?