Meeting of GRARG 21st January 2021

Next meeting: FEBRUARY 18th 2021 Time 8pm

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86798717951?pwd=d2kzbnRUZGo1YitKRjJheDFjMy9KQT09

AGENDA

Set short and medium term strategy

Report on progress at next meeting.

End the conflation of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ in legal/policy/organisation’s documents. If this conflation can be removed, much of the difficulties with the current GRA will go.

Members to examine submissions to the recent WEC consultation to identify organisations that support this conflation/self ID and then write to them to ask to what extent women were consulted. SP awaiting response from NatWest, Artless will tackle Barnardos. SP letter to Natwest is here. Please share via Slack gcritical.slack.com if you have identified someone you wish to contact. Project deadline: End March 2021.

New group involving LibDem women being set up – will be interesting to hear of progress!

Consider how to contact the ‘unsure’ MPs on the spreadsheet – we will need to identify constituents. Write to them asking for clear statement of intent with regard to self identification and conflation of sex and gender.

Contact other groups to share this strategy – so we don’t duplicate efforts

SP to contact @SexMattersOrg and @RepealTheGRA

Every one to respond to consultations

See Slack channel for more discussion

And sign the Women’s Declaration on Sex Based Rights

Consultations

Standards Matter consultation
Closes 29th January 2021 at 5pm

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/standards-matter-2-public-consultation-and-public-sector-survey

Toilet Provision for Men and Women: Call for Evidence
Closes 29th January 2021 at 11.45pm

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/toilet-provision-for-men-and-women-call-for-evidence

How Can We Put Equalities At The Heart of Government

Closes 17th February 2021 no time given
Warning; our moles tell us this may be a way to undermine and attack Liz Truss

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/328/women-and-equalities-committee/news/138432/how-can-we-put-equalities-at-the-heart-of-government/

Violence Against Women and Girls: Call for Evidence
Closes 19th February 2021 at 11.45pm

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-against-women-and-girls-vawg-call-for-evidence

Keeping Children Safe in Education

Closes 4th March 2021, no time given.

https://consult.education.gov.uk/safeguarding-in-schools-team/keeping-children-safe-in-education-schools-and-col/?fbclid=IwAR3kv11k6zcDpryWrPyIDy3WcIHQ6ivMDhJYpU9-GMqBiJ0bGvsR7SOuZ70

The Role of the GEO: embedding equalities across government
17th February 2021, no time given.
https://committees.parliament.uk/work/947/the-role-of-the-geo-embedding-equalities-across-government/

A letter to Ms Alison Rose, CEO of the NatWest Group

Dear Ms Rose

I write to you as CEO of the NatWest Group to express a number of concerns arising out of NatWest’s response to the Women and Equalities Committee on 26th November 2020. This letter is signed by a number of others, some of whom are customers of NatWest and who have indicated this status by the letter ‘C’ next to their name.

The response said this:

NatWest Group supports a review of the identity rules in the UK to reflect the needs and rights of trans and non-binary people. … Society is a diverse place with many kinds of people who are all unique. Making it easier for people wishing to change their gender status would help to safeguard the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of trans people, and continue the journey towards social and legal equality…. NatWest Group believes that no individual should be placed under any additional burden, be it emotional, physical or financial, to be able to be who they are. .. We support the adoption of a self-declaration system for legal gender recognition in the UK. We have already adopted this process in the workplace to ensure that colleagues can bring their whole selves to work every day, free of judgement, as part of our goal of ensuring all our staff are comfortable in their surroundings. We also extend the same levels of support to our trans and non-binary customers, enabling customers to self-declare gender changes with no requirement for additional evidence.

This raised immediate concerns given the significant risks that ‘Self ID’ will impact negatively upon the safety and dignity of women, as between 80-90% of self declared transwomen make no modification to their bodies by either way of medication or surgery.

To be fair, the response does go on to say that changes to the GRA require further clarification to ensure ‘equal’ protection of all protected characteristics:

… we would ask the inquiry to consider how these changes could be balanced against the need to protect the rights of others. We believe it remains essential that all the protected characteristics remain equally protected as enshrined in the UK Equality Act, 2010…. NatWest Group believe that further clarification and/or guidance would be helpful to employers and to ensure that employees and service users are aware of their rights. 

However, it is difficult to see how ‘all’ protected characteristics can be ‘equally protected’ if you have already instituted ‘self ID’ in the workplace, or among your customers. Quite apart from any issues of increasing exposure to fraud and ID theft, this permits any man to claim he is a woman on his assertion alone. I can see no reference in this response to the nature or degree of consultation, if any, that was carried out with your female employees or your female customers about the impact of this policy on their ability to ‘bring their whole selves to work’ or be confident that their ‘physical, mental and emotional wellbeing’ is protected whilst on your premises.

This is particularly concerning when I look at your ‘gender balance’ policy, which is committed to ensure ‘at least 30% women in our top three leadership layers (c.4,000 roles) in each of our businesses by the end of 2020 and achieve a full gender balance across the bank by 2030.’ What definition of ‘woman’ will you be using to secure this aim? Presumably none whatsoever, as you have already adopted and implemented ‘self ID’ throughout NatWest.

I raised my concerns initially with the Twitter account @NatWest_Help on January 13th 2021 which invited comment via Direct Message. I said:

Dear NatWest. I have been a customer of yours for over 30 years. But given the astonishing content of your recent submission to the WEC about your support for the rights of men to become women on their declaration alone, I will now have to reconsider this position as a matter of urgency. I am particularly worried by the fact your submission could not even bring itself to use the word ‘sex’ or recognise the importance of retaining single sex spaces for the dignity and safety of women and girls. I do not understand why you feel it appropriate or necessary to join the debate in this way.

I received a response from ‘Barry’ later that day.

Hello Sarah. We’ve provided input into a consultation on legislation that is currently under review. In doing so, we consulted with our LGBT+ colleagues and took account of our shared value of supporting individuals to bring the best of themselves to work, a privilege often not afforded to Trans* individuals. As an entity, NatWest Group is comfortable to contribute to the consultation, recognising that it is in line with our inclusion principles, one of which is that we do not support views that undermine protected characteristics and/or minority and under-represented groups. It is true that – with inclusion – we cannot always share the same views as each other, but as an organisation, we are comfortable to support our Trans* colleagues and customers this way. ^Barry

I replied:

I would be grateful if you could explain the extent of the impact assessment you conducted with regard to the consequences for women in your organisation, and also women who are your customers. Which women did you consult? To what extent did you satisfy yourselves that support for Self ID would not undermine the protected category of sex and the safety and dignity of women?

At the time of writing I have had no response to these questions. Such is the serious nature of my concern that I write to you now.

I have been a long standing customer of NatWest. I do not relish the prospect of moving my accounts and mortgage product to another provider. However, I am very concerned by what I have read and the nature of the responses. I would like to be reassured as to the nature and degree of the consultation carried out with women in to inform the implementation of this policy of ‘Self ID’ and some understanding as to how you intend to mitigate the obvious and serious impact this will have on women who are either employed by or customers of the NatWest Group.

I would be grateful for a response by February 15th 2021.

SIGNATORIES

  1. Jackie Bale [C]
  2. Dr Carly Brooks
  3. Campbell Burden
  4. Tanya Carter
  5. Jason Clark
  6. Diana Clough
  7. Elaine Coates
  8. Margaret Court
  9. Lawrence Cox
  10. Diane Dear
  11. Emma Dear {C]
  12. Martin Dear
  13. Catherine Edgar [C]
  14. Jessica Evans
  15. Alix Goldring
  16. David Gourley
  17. Jennifer Gourley
  18. Donna Hughes
  19. John Irwin
  20. Sarah Johnson
  21. The Lesbian Rights Alliance.
  22. John A.P. Moir [C]
  23. C. Moravec [C]
  24. Louise Paine on behalf of LAWS (Let A Woman Speak)
  25. Liz Pitt
  26. Sarah Phillimore [C]
  27. Beth Miller
  28. C.L. Mulholland
  29. Joanne Rogers [C]
  30. Lisa Route [C]
  31. Alison Simmons
  32. Carla Thompson
  33. Georgia Thompson
  34. Charlotte Wells
  35. Una-Jane Winfield on behalf of Transwidows.com
  36. Tracy Woodley
  37. Colonel (Retired) S.A. Winkworth CMgs FCMI FInstRE [C]
  38. Mina Znaidi

GRARG meeting 29th October 2020

Thanks to all who attended and shared their stories. We remain open to all.

The next meeting is 12 November 2020 8pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4247888422

We found ourselves with renewed focus after the announcement of two important consulations:

Toilet provision for men and women

And

We agreed to meet again on 12th November in order to discuss our progress. We agreed it would be sensible to respond via a ‘general’ GRARG response to point out :

  • the inherent problems caused by lack of defined terms within the consultation – what is meant by ‘trans’ for e.g
  • the inherent problems caused by the conflation of sex and gender

And that individuals would make their own responses to those questions that particularly interested them.

There was a lot of helpful guidance on Twitter about how to make submissions and the official Government guidance is here.

Key points

  • It’s not a numbers game – this is about evidence.
  • Set out who you are
  • Keep it short – about 3,000 words
  • Don’t submit already published material but draw from it
  • Number your paragraphs!
  • Don’t comment on matters currently before the court
  • Don’t publish your submissions separately

Very grateful thanks to the Gender Crit for setting us up with a Slack account, which is already seeing a lot of discussion and questions.

And don’t forget our Manifesto is now in living colour! We have 93 signatures now – it would be great to get this up to 100 by November 27th.

When the consultation period is over we will return to examining our MPs spreadsheet and the best way to communicate with those who are ‘unsure’.

THE GRARG MANIFESTO

The Gender Recognition Act Reform/Repeal Group had its first meeting on 24th June 2020. It was born out of increasing anger and despair at the current state of our public debate – or lack of it – around issues of fundamental importance to women. We wanted to turn those negative emotions into positive action.

We hold regular Zoom meetings to discuss our aims and strategy. All are welcome, provided that they are courteous and do not talk over others.

The GRARG has two aims:

  • To discuss openly and publicly reform to the GRA; to show that there is nothing in this discussion that is shameful or wrong.
  • To take positive action to support reform or repeal of the GRA

We present the third version of our Manifesto.

I offer very grateful thanks to all who have contributed; the original and second version can be seen here. This may not be the final version. If you want your contribution to be recognised or you are willing to sign your name, please indicate in the comments or email me at sarahvphillimore@gmail.com

This is a living document that may change over time. But what will remain constant is our commitment to honesty and clarity of thought as the highest ideals.

We will use this document to inform our discussions with those new to this debate or unsure about what they think.

We will no longer waste our time in ‘debating’ the existence of those truths we identify as self evident. But we remain open to discuss ways forward – to recognise and support the rights of all.

However, we recognise that often rights exist in tension. Threats and shame can never resolve this tension. They will only inflame hatred and suspicion of each other.

This hurts us all.

 

We hold these truths to be self evident. 

Our right to speak

  1. We have a right to speak publicly about the laws of our country.
  2. This speech is protected political speech under ECHR Article 10.
  3. Others have a right to disagree with us.
  4. But no one has the right to harass or threaten any other who is exercising their right to protected political speech.
  5. Discussion of laws and policy must be open.
  6. Those impacted by law or policy must be consulted.

Sex, Gender and Gender Identity

  1. The definition of a ‘woman’ is ‘adult human female’ 
  2. The definition of a ‘man’ is ‘adult human male’. 
  3. There are only two sexes; male and female. 
  4. Sex is determined at fertilisation and revealed at birth or even before.
  5. Sex is not determined by clothes, hairstyles, choice of pronouns or activities. 
  6. Human beings cannot change sex. 
  7. The existence of rare and well-described  ‘differences of sexual development’ (DSDs or so called ‘intersex’ conditions) does not negate the fact that sex is binary and does not prove the existence of any ‘third sex’.
  8. It is unacceptable to use those with DSDs to provide support for any argument that there are more than two sexes. A person with a DSD is either male or female and has a right to be recognised as such.
  9. Sex is relevant in many areas of life including healthcare, safeguarding and risk assessment, sexual relationships and reproduction, bodily privacy and consent, protections against sex discrimination and the collection of statistics.
  10. ‘Gender’ used to be a more gentle synonym for ‘sex’ but it’s meaning has changed over time and is now more commonly used to describe the roles, behaviours and social expectations associated with the two sexes.
  11. Gender can be perceived as oppressive and potentially harmful to all people of both sexes as it may impose unfair and limiting stereotypes on both men and women. 
  12. People should be free to express themselves by their appearance and how they talk about themselves without being limited by expectations imposed by their sex.
  13. Nobody should be harassed, threatened or suffer unlawful discrimination because of how they look or wish to be called.
  14. Gender identity’ is a phrase used to describe a belief held by a minority of people about their identities and the nature of them. This may be expressed by clothes worn, hairstyles, choice of pronouns and activities.
  15. A belief in a ‘gender identity’ is subjective, cannot be falsified and is not universally accepted as true. 
  16. ‘Sex’ ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’ are therefore categorically different things and must not be conflated.
  17. Sex is a protected characteristic pursuant to the Equality Act 2010. ‘Gender’ or ‘Gender identity’ are not. 
  18. Single and separate sex services, associations and sports are protected by the Equality Act 2010.

We hold these issues worthy of discussion 

  1. Section 9 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) conflates ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ and is therefore not fit for purpose and should be amended or repealed:

Where a full gender recognition certificate is issued to a person, the person’s gender becomes for all purposes the acquired gender (so that if the acquired gender is the male gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a man, and if it is the female gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a woman).

2. The Gender Recognition Act creates a ‘legal fiction’ in that the holder of a Gender Recognition Certificate has ‘changed sex’ and must now be treated as the opposite sex, save for the defined exceptions. How this interacts with the Equality Act 2010 to allow males access to female single-sex spaces is confusing, not well understood and persistently mis-represented.

3. Making the disclosure of a Gender Recognition Certificate a criminal offence, with few exceptions, has had wide reaching consequences. Making someone’s sex confidential, when it is often something that is immediately visually obvious and relevant to many aspects of life, has left many organisations uneasy about collecting data on anyone’s sex or enforcing sex-based rules. Therefore we have ‘self ID’ by the back door.

4. Single-sex spaces remain necessary for women and girls, for their safety dignity and well being; the activities that take place in these spaces are such that many women and girls would reasonably object to the presence of males. We are particularly concerned about those spaces where women and girls are accommodated in close proximity to each other and have little or no choice about how they enter or leave this space. For example, prisons, hospitals and women’s refuges. 

5. Women and girls also have a right to be provided health or other intimate care from a person of the same sex.

6. We recognise that some men and women experience significant mental distress when identified as the sex they were born and wish to present and be treated as the opposite sex. This is often called ‘gender dysphoria’. 

7. We agree that it is legitimate to ask how the ECHR Article 8 rights to a private life and psychological integrity for those with gender dysphoria, can be balanced against the rights of women and girls to single-sex spaces, and the wider societal needs to distinguish between the male and female sex. Some members would go further to declare that women’s rights to single-sex spaces are absolute and should not be subject to any kind of balancing act.

8. We agree it is reasonable to investigate how provision of third spaces could protect the ECHR Article 8 rights to privacy and psychological integrity of those with ‘gender dysphoria’ while protecting the rights of women and girls. 

9. We do not agree that accessible spaces currently designated for those with the EA protected characteristic of disability should be automatically considered appropriate for use as such a ‘third space’ and where no such ‘third space’ exists, the assumption must never be that a single-sex female space can be used instead. 

10. We agree it is reasonable to investigate how people can obtain copies of official documents which do not include information about their sex. This will allow them to use those documents in situations where they are not be asked to declare their sex.

11. We assert that registration of birth is a historical record and should record the sex of a person at birth and should not be changed.  Birth certificates could however be issued in ‘short form’ to remove any reference to sex. 

12. We assert it should be clearly stated in law that no child below the age of 16 should have access to any medical treatment which has its main or primary goal, the alteration of observable sex characteristics.

13. We assert it should be clearly stated in law that no child of any age should be permitted to consent to any surgical intervention which has as its main or primary goal, alteration of observable sex characteristics. 

14. ADDED 11th OCTOBER – that existing rights for the spouses to declare whether they wish their marriage to continue or be annulled, should be retained.

WE THE PEOPLE

  1. Lynn Alderson
  2. Ermine Amies
  3. Louise Ashworth Ford
  4. Jane Ayres
  5. Alessandra Asteriti
  6. Ellen B
  7. Julie L Baillie
  8. Seonaid Dawn Barber
  9. Belstaffie
  10. Judith Berridge
  11. Clare Blom
  12. Lisa Bowley
  13. Sarah Bradbeer
  14. Dawne Brown
  15. Heather Brunskell-Evans
  16. Kiera Cadwell
  17. Mairi Cameron
  18. Mary Casey
  19. Guffi Chohdri
  20. D. Clough
  21. Kate Coleman
  22. Wendy Cockroft
  23. Lucy Cowlin
  24. Alison Dowling
  25. Lynne Drewery
  26. Jeni E
  27. Deborah Evans
  28. Jessica Evans
  29. Mike Flinn
  30. Elizabeth Griffiths
  31. Jennifer Griffiths
  32. Jane Harris
  33. Isobel Htay
  34. Adam Hibbert
  35. Jacky Holyoak
  36. N. Howard
  37. Mary Humphreys
  38. Jon Irwin
  39. Alison Jenner
  40. Rob Jessel
  41. Wendy Johnson
  42. Rachel King
  43. Nick Langford
  44. Christina Lamb
  45. Diane Lawler
  46. Angi Mansi
  47. Mark Mair
  48. Julie Marshall
  49. S. Mawdsley
  50. Cathy Maxwell
  51. Kate McEwan
  52. Michelle Mealor
  53. Hugh Meechan
  54. Maggie Mellon
  55. Celia Mindelsohn
  56. John AP Moir
  57. C. Moravec
  58. Nuria Muina
  59. Claire Newton
  60. Andreia Nobre
  61. Ros Olleson
  62. Julia O’Connor
  63. Margaret Ann Pearson
  64. Miriam Peck
  65. Max Pell
  66. Edith Pender-Hiom
  67. Hilary Penney
  68. Sarah Phillimore
  69. Gillian Philip
  70. Denise Prideaux
  71. Linda Ramsay
  72. Hannah Ray
  73. Delyth Rennie
  74. Kirstin Rennie
  75. Miriam Richards
  76. Victoria Richards
  77. Stasia Richardson
  78. Gil Rimmer
  79. Nigel Scott
  80. Deborah Siddoway
  81. Amrane Smith
  82. Jennifer Smith
  83. Kate Styles
  84. Maggie Siviter
  85. Joanna Stafford-Tolley
  86. A. Thomas
  87. Selina Thompson
  88. Sarah Tilley
  89. Iris Walker
  90. Ruth Walls
  91. Kay Warner
  92. Alison Weir
  93. Victoria Whitworth
  94. Jane Willis
  95. Ella Witchwood
  96. Alison Wren
  97. Karen Varley
  98. M. Znaidi

First Draft of the GRARG Manifesto

October 3rd 2020

All comments welcome. Either comment below the post or email sarahvphillimore@gmail.com

EDITS 4th October IN BOLD

Comments in italic

Thanks to all for your comments. If you made them on Twitter, apologies if they got lost, I may not have captured all.

With regard to the ‘self evident’ truths I think we need to achieve unanimity, or as near as possible. These are the matters that we will no longer agree to spend time debating. They are facts and they are true.

Those matters we deem worthy of discussion can be more contentious – it is not for us to press for any particular solution. But I think it is important that we at least engage with what these solutions might be.

We hold these truths to be self evident.

  1. The definition of a ‘woman’ is ‘adult human female’
  2. The definition of a ‘man’ is ‘adult human male’.
  3. There are only two sexes; male and female.
  4. Sex is determined at fertilisation and revealed at birth or, increasingly, in utero.
  5. Sex is not determined by clothes worn, hairstyles, choice of pronouns or activities.
  6. Sex is immutable and objective.
  7. The existence of rare and well-described ‘disorders ‘differences of sexual differentiation’ (so called ‘intersex’ conditions) does not negate the fact that sex is binary and does not prove the existence of any ‘third sex’. It is unacceptable to attempt to use those with DSDs to provide support for any such argument. A person with a DSD is either male or female.
  8. Gender describes a social system that varies over time and location and involves shaping of a set of behaviours, clothing or activities deemed appropriate for one’s sex.
  9. Gender can be perceived as oppressive and potentially painful harmful to all people of both sexes as it may impose unfair and limiting stereotypes on both men and women.
  10. Gender is mutable and subjective.
  11. ‘Gender identity’ is a phrase used to describe a belief held by a minority of people about their identities and the nature of them. This may be expressed by clothes worn, hairstyles, choice of pronouns and activities.
  12. A belief in a ‘gender identity’ has no basis in science and therefore is akin to any other religious belief; it is subjective, cannot be falsified and is not universally accepted as true.
  13. ‘Sex’ ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’ are therefore substantially categorically different things and must not be conflated.
  14. Sex is a protected characteristic pursuant to the Equality Act 2010. ‘Gender’ or ‘Gender identity’ are not.
  15. Single-sex spaces are protected by the Equality Act if for a proportionate and legitimate aim.
  16. All have a right to live free from abuse, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, regardless of their actual sex or claimed gender identity and the State has a positive obligation to protect these rights by use of either the civil or the criminal law.
  17. There is a distinction between a personal right to claim a freedom to do something (choose one’s sexual or marital partner for e.g.) and claiming a right of entitlement to goods, services or employment prospects.
  18. A right of entitlement is meaningless without the law to recognise and enforce it. Therefore both the entitlement and the person claiming it must be capable of clear definition.
  19. If the State wishes to elevate any particular characteristic as attracting greater protection at law, that characteristic must be capable of definition.
  20. Sex is capable of such definition; ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’ are not.

Definitions of sex and gender from Sex, gender and gender identity: a re-evaluation of the evidence BJPsych Bulletin July 2020.

We hold these issues worthy of discussion

  1. Section 9 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) is not fit for purpose and should be amended or repealed

Where a full gender recognition certificate is issued to a person, the person’s gender becomes for all purposes the acquired gender (so that if the acquired gender is the male gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a man, and if it is the female gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a woman).

2. The Gender Recognition Act creates a ‘legal fiction’ in that the holder of a Gender Recognition Certificate has ‘changed sex’ and must now be treated as the opposite sex, save for the defined exceptions. How this interacts extent to which the ‘legal fiction’ of the Gender Recognition Certificate operates with the Equality Act 2010 to allow males access to female single-sex spaces is confusing, not well understood and persistently mis-represented over time.

3. Single-sex spaces remain necessary for women and girls, for their safety dignity and well being; the activities that take place in these spaces are such that many women and girls would reasonably object to the presence of males. We are particularly concerned about those spaces where women and girls are accommodated in close proximity to each other and have little or no choice about how they enter or leave this space. For example, prisons, hospitals and women’s refuges.

4. Access to such spaces should not be automatically determined by possession of a Gender Recognition Certificate or any equivalent document and should NEVER be permitted by allowing a member of the male sex to identify as the female sex on his declaration alone (‘Self ID’). This is unlikely to be proportionate or legitimate as it risks harm to the dignity and/or safety of women and girls. comment: not sure why you say, “his declaration alone.” Surely all males should be excluded from access? I realise this excludes the ‘safe’ transexuals, but I’d be inclined to be more absolutist about this

5. Women and girls also have a right to be provided health or other intimate care from a person of the same sex

6. We recognise that some men and women do not feel comfortable to be identified as the sex they were born and wish to present and be treated as the opposite sex. This is often called ‘gender dysphoria’.

7. We agree that it is legitimate to ask how the ECHR Article 8 rights of such people to psychological integrity can be balanced against the rights of women and girls to single sex spaces. Comment: Does this point mean the we query the very possibility of ‘balancing’ against single-sex spaces? If so fine (but needs to be stated more clearly). Or does it mean that its legitimate to balance trans rights against women’s right’s to single-sex spaces? In which case, no. Women’s rights to single-sex spaces under EA exceptions must be off the table.

8. We agree it is reasonable to investigate how provision of third spaces could protect the psychological integrity of those with ‘gender dysphoria’ while protecting the rights of women and girls. Comment: do we need to even mention third spaces? This is not a problem for us to solve.

9. We do not agree that accessible spaces currently designated for those with the EA protected characteristic of disability should be automatically considered appropriate for use as such a ‘third space’ and where no such ‘third space’ exists, the assumption must never be that a single-sex female space can be used instead.

10. We agree it is reasonable to investigate how documents used to determine a person’s identity could be changed to remove any indication of a person’s sex for those situations were sex is irrelevant.

11. However we assert that registration of birth a birth certificate is a historical record and should record the sex of a person at birth and should not be changed. Birth certificates could however be issued in ‘short form’ to remove any reference to sex.

12. We assert that accurate recording of birth sex is also important for statistics, such as rates of criminal offending, and for ensuring that correct medical treatment is given.

13. We do not think that any child should be encouraged to access medication or surgery regarding their ‘gender identity’ before the age of 16 years. We do not think any child below the age of 16 should have access to puberty blockers or cross sex hormones regardless of whether or not that child is found to be Gillick competent to consent, and that it should be clearly stated in law that no child of any age should be permitted to consent to any surgical intervention which has as its main or primary goal alteration of observable sex characteristics. This provoked a lot of comment – I had initially used the age of 16 because I could not find any primary legislation that prohibited surgery for the over 16s – but it does seem that medical organisations do not permit their members to carry out such surgery on any person under 18 and some set the age limit even higher. Many argued for an upper age limit of 21 or even 25, given the seriousness of what was at stake. This is clearly a very important area that is going to need much more discussion and is beyond the remit of this document.

One detailed comment read:

Physical interventions for gender dysphoria should not be available within general clinical service (ie as a standard treatment) before the age of 25. The NHS Long Term Plan calls for a seamless mental health service from 0 to 25 and there’s widespread acceptance within healthcare professions of the distinct needs of the mid-teens to mid-twenties group. For example, the Royal College of Physicians says that “young adults and adolescents (YAA) aged between 16 and 25 years need to be considered as a defined population.” The CQC states that “Adolescence/young adulthood should be recognised across the health service as an important developmental phase”; NICE guidelines on transition to adult services calls for “everyone working with young people in transition up to the age of 25 [to understand]… young people’s development (biological, cognitive, psychological, psychosocial, sexual, social)” and the NHS’s own toolkit for delivering developmentally appropriate healthcare cautions that “young people’s development does not have a fixed time frame attached. Much of this development will take place after reaching the legal age of adulthood at 18.”

2. We don’t think that gender reassignment surgery should be available to any child (ie before the age of 18). This is also the current NHS position.

3. We believe that all physical interventions for gender dysphoria for this group should be available only within a research study. This would provide for independent ethical approval and oversight during the duration of the study; ensures reporting of outcomes, good and bad; signals clearly to patients that the interventions are experimental; and is the only way we’ll be able to determine their safety and efficacy, better than we can now.

 

3rd Meeting – Self ID ‘DENIED’

GRARG met for the 3rd time remotely on 3rd September 2020. It was clear we remained in a limbo with no news on any Government announcement about reform to the GRA.

On 19th September the fog cleared a little with a leaked report in the Sunday Times that Self ID was NOT going to be part of any reform to the GRA, although the process of obtaining a certificate would be made less expensive.

What I thought was really significant was this comment:

More than 100,000 responses were received to the consultation. Insiders say 70% backed the idea that anyone should be allowed to self-identify. However, officials believe the results were skewed by responses generated by trans rights groups.

So we can see both the power of lobby groups but also their weakness – if you overplay your hand with weak cards, you may not achieve much.

Apparently Liz Truss will make a formal announcement on Wednesday September 23rd at 11.30 am. I really hope it will be to confirm the news already leaked.

With Self ID off the table – at least for now – the major and most serious threat to women’s rights is gone. But the conflation between sex and gender remains, and all the harm that this does. However, we can now focus on that issue as plank to reform to the GRA/EA without having to beat off the Self ID dragon – so that is very positive.

We will wait to see what announcement is made and arrange a fourth meeting to consider the implications of this.

Summary of the third meeting.

We discussed the spreadsheet of MP’s replies and considered tactics for moving forward. We agreed that those MP’s who self identified as ‘unsure’ were probably the best targets for further lobbying. Some of those who were ‘foes’ expressed truly incredible ideas; one male MP categorised those who supported women’s rights for single sex spaces as the same as those who propped up apartheid in South Africa. It’s clear we are unlikely to reach those!

A debate arose during and after the meeting about whether we should be publicising MP’s views at all, given the ‘consequences’ for expressing oneself as a ‘friend’. My view was that we should certainly make it clear who was friend/foe/unsure; MPs are public servants and the public have a right to know their position on a matter of such importance. Not only that, but GRARG was founded on the very important principle that these discussions must be held as publicly as possible; as an important weapon against the narrative that our views are in any way shameful or reprehensible. So we will continue to publish that information but as always, welcome feedback.

We agreed we should make further contact with other groups who are also collecting this information so that we get the best data possible to inform any further push to target the ‘unsures’, along with the need to consider other kinds of information dissemination, such as videos.

Updated spreadsheet.

On September 3rd we had 140 replies and 57% were in the ‘foe’ column. The Good News is, as of September 20 we had 164 replies and ‘foes were down to 48% at 79 MPS – ‘friend’ and ‘unsure’ roughly split at 44 and 41 each.

The first tranche are those who replied directly to the GRARG letter and the questions posed there.

FRIENDThangam DebbonaireBristol WestLAB
FRIEND Andrew Gwyenne Denton and ReddishLAB
FRIENDJohn Howell OBEHenley CON
FRIENDJames DalyBury Ramsbottom and TottinghamCON
FRIENDJonathan LordWokingCON
FRIEND Anthony BrowneSouth CambridgeshireCON
FRIEND Chris LoderWest DorsetCON
FRIENDSteve DoubleSt Austell and NewquayCON
FRIEND might be wobblyLucy FrazerSouth East CambridgeshireCON
UNSURESuzanne WebbStourbridgeCON
UNSURELucy AllanTelfordCON
UNSUREDavid JonesClwyd WestCON
FOEBarry GardinerBrent NorthLAB
FOETahir AliBirmingham, Hall GreenLAB
FOEElliott ColburnCarsharlton and WallingtonCON
REPLIES TO OTHER LETTERS including info from EMMA PALERMO. NB. Foes are recorded as ‘TWAW’ but this doesn’t necessarily mean they would answer this way if replying to the GRARG letter.
FRIENDS
FRIEND?Diane AbbottHackney North LAB
FRIEND Elaine SmithCentral ScotlandLAB
FRIEND Jenny MarraN.E.ScotlandLAB
FRIEND Johann LamontGlasgowLAB
FRIENDGareth BaconOrpingtonCON
FRIENDDuncan BakerNorth NorfolkCON
FRIENDGeoffrey CoxTorridge & West DevonCON
FRIENDDavid DaviesMonmouthCON
FRIENDJackie Doyle PriceThurrockCON
FRIENDIain Duncan SmithChingford and Woodford GreenCON
FRIENDLaura FarrisNewburyCON
FRIENDSally-Ann HartHastings and RyeCON
FRIENDDanny KreugerDevizesCON
FRIENDCaroline NoakesRomsey Southampton NCON
FRIENDMark Pritchardthe WrekinCON
FRIENDElizabeth TrussSW NorfolkCON
FRIEND Therese CoffeySuffolk CoastalCON
FRIEND Phillip DaviesShipleyCON
FRIEND Ben BradleyMansfieldCON
FRIENDJames HeappeyWellsCON
FRIEND Bob NeillBromley and ChislehurstCON
FRIEND Jeremy BalfourLothianCON
FRIENDPatricia GibsonN. AyreshireSNP
FRIENDJoanna CherryEd South WestSNP
FRIEND Joan McAlpineSouth ScotlandSNP
FRIENDAngus McNeilNa a-eileanan An LarSNP
FRIENDCarol MonaghanGlasgow NWSNP
FRIEND James DornanGlasgow CathcartSNP
FRIEND Ash DenhamEdinburgh EasternSNP
FRIEND Christine GrahameMidlothian South, Tweeddale & LauderdaleSNP
FRIEND Ruth MaguireCunninghame SouthSNP
FRIEND Ivan McKeeGlasgow ProvanSNP
FRIEND Andy WightmanLothianGREEN
FRIEND Helen Mary JonesMid and West WalesPLAID
FOE/TWAWDark red = worth lobbying
FOE/TWAWCat SmithLancaster and FleetwoodLAB
FOE/TWAWKarin SmythBristol SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWAlex SobelLeeds NorthwestLAB
FOE/TWAWKeir StarmerHolborn and St PancrasLAB
FOE/TWAWWes StreetingIlford NorthLAB
FOE/TWAWZarah SultanaCoventy SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWEmily ThornberryIslington S and FinsburyLAB
FOE/TWAWKarl TurnerKingston upon Hull EastLAB
FOE/TWAWCatherine WestHorney and Wood GrnLAB
FOE/TWAWMatt WesternWarwick and LeamingtonLAB
FOE/TWAWNadia WhittomeNottingham EastLAB
FOE/TWAWDaneil ZeicherCambridgeLAB
FOE/TWAWAngela EaglewallaseyLAB
FOE/TWAWTahir AliBirminghamLAB
FOE/TWAWRosena Allina KhanTootingLAB
FOE/TWAWFleur AndersonPutneyLAB
FOE/TWAWClive BettsSheffieldLAB
FOE/TWAWDawn ButlerBrent CentralLAB
FOE/TWAWIan ByrneLiverpool West DarbyLAB
FOE/TWAWDan CardenLiverpool WaltonLAB
FOE/TWAWRichard BurgonLeeds EastLAB
FOE/TWAWBambos CharalambousEnfield SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWStella CreaseyWalthamstowLAB
FOE/TWAWStephen DoughtyCardiff S and PenarthLAB
FOE/TWAWGill FurnissSheffield BrightsideLAB
FOE/TWAWMary GlindonNorth TynesideLAB
FOE/TWAWJeremy CorbynIs NorthLAB
FOE/TWAWKim JohnsonLiverpool RiversideLAB
FOE/TWAWGillian KeeganChichesterLAB
FOE/TWAWDavid LammyTottenhamLAB
FOE/TWAWClive LewisNorwich SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWRebecca Long BaileySalford and EcclesLAB
FOE/TWAWSeema MalhotraFeltham and HestonLAB
FOE/TWAWKerry McCarthyBristol EastLAB
FOE/TWAWStephan MorganPortsmouth SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWIan MurrayEdinburgh SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWAlex NorrisNottingham NorthLAB
FOE/TWAWLuke PollardPlymouth Sutton DevonportLAB
FOE/TWAWLucy PowellManchester CentralLAB
FOE/TWAWYasmin QureshiBolton SELAB
FOE/TWAWAngela RaynerAshton-Under-LymeLAB
FOE/TWAWBell Ribeiro-AddyStreathamLAB
FOE/TWAWMarie RimmerSt. Helens South and WhistonLAB
FOE/TWAWLloyd Russell MoyleBrighton KemptownLAB
FOE/TWAWJess PhillipsBirmingham YardleyLAB
FOE/TWAWRoyston SmithSouthampton ItchenCON
FOE/TWAWNickie AikenWestminsterCON
FOE/TWAWStuart AndrewPudseyCON
FOE/TWAWCrispin BluntReigateCON
FOE/TWAWConnor BurnsBournemeouth WestCON
FOE/TWAWChristopher ChopeChristchurchCON
FOE/TWAWJohn HayesSouth Holland & DeepingsCON
FOE/TWAWDrew HendryInverness Nairn, Badenoch & StratsbyCON
FOE/TWAWMims DaviesMid SussexCON
FOE/TWAWNicola RichardsWest Bromwich EastCON
FOE/TWAWJamie WallaceBridgendCON
FOE/TWAWGary SambrookBirmingham NorthfieldCON
FOE/TWAWPaul HolmesEastleighCON
FOE/TWAWJames SunderlandBracknellCON
FOE/TWAWRichard HoldenNorthWest DurhamCON
FOE/TWAWBen EverittMilton Keynes NorthCON
FOE/TWAWJohn NicolsonOchil and South PerthshireSNP
FOE/TWAWStewart McDonaldGllasgow southSNP
FOE/TWAWDavid LyndonGlasgow EastSNP
FOE/TWAWChris LawDundee WestSNP
FOE/TWAWMartin DochertyW DumbartonshireSNP
FOE/TWAWAngela CrawleyLannarck & Hamilton EastSNP
FOE/TWAWAlan BrownKilmarnokckSNP
FOE/TWAWMhairi BlackPaisley SNP
FOE/TWAWKirsty BlackmanAberdeen NSNP
FOE/TWAWChris StephensGlasgow SWSNP
FOE/TWAWPete WishartPerth and N. PerthshireSNP
FOE/TWAWEdward DaveyKinston and surbitonLIB DEMS
FOE/TWAWChrstine JardineEdinburgh WestLIB DEMS
FOE/TWAWLayla MoranWest Oxford and AbingdonLIB DEMS
FOE/TWAWCaroline LucasBrighton PavilionGREEN
UNSURE
TWAW/CONFUSEDAlicia KearnsRutland and MeltonCON
UNSURECaroline AnsellEastbourneCON
UNSURERichard BaconSouth NorfolkCON
UNSURE?Kemi BadenochSaffron WaldrenCON
UNSURE Karen BradleyStaffs MoorlandsCON
UNSURE Ben BradshawExeterCON
UNSURE Suella BravermanFarehamCON
UNSUREMaria CaulfieldLewes SussexCON
UNSURE?Daniel KawczynskiShewsbury & AtchamCON
UNSUREJonathan LordWokingCON
UNSUREOwen PattersonNorth ShropshireCON
UNSUREDominic RaabEsher and WaltonCON
UNSUREPaul ScullySutton and CheamCON
UNSUREJeremy WrightKenilworth on SouthamCON
UNSUREAndrew PerceyBrigg and GooleCON
UNSURE Virginia CorsbieIsle of Anglesey (Ynys Môn)
UNSURERuth CadburyBrentford and IsleworthLAB
UNSURETonia AntoniazziGowerLAB
UNSURE/FRIENDMarsha D CordovaBatterseaLAB
UNSURE/VEERING TO FOERose DuffieldCanterburyLAB
UNSUREJulie ElliottSunderland CentralLAB
UNSUREHarriet HarmanCamberwell and PeckhamLAB
UNSURECaroline HarrisSwansea EastLAB
UNSUREDiana R JohnsonKingston upon Hull NorthLAB
UNSURE/FRIENDPeter KyleHoveLAB
UNSURESiobhain McDonaghMitcham and MordenLAB
UNSUREJohn Martin McDonnellHayes and HarlingtonLAB
UNSUREPat McFaddenWolverhampton SELAB
UNSUREAnn McMorrinCardiff NorthLAB
UNSUREBridge PhillipsonHoughton & Sunderland SouthLAB
UNSUREJonathan ReynoldsStalybridge and HydeLAB
UNSURE/FRIENDJo StevensCardiff CentralLAB
UNSUREBeth WinterCynom ValleyLAB
UNSURE?Tim FarronWestmoreland & LondsdaleLIB DEMS
UNSUREAlyn SmithSterlingSNP
HOUSE OF LORDS
FRIENDS
FRIENDBaroness NicholsonLD
FRIENDZac GoldsmithCON
FRIENDLewis MoonieLAB
FRIENDPhilip Hunt@LordPhilofBrumLAB
FRIENDTanni Grey Thomson, BaronessINDEPENDENT

Friend or Foe?

At the third meeting of GRARG at 8pm on 2nd September we will be discussion the results of our contact with MPs.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4247888422

As you can see from the spreadsheet below, as of August 30th we have an idea about the position of 140 MPs and SMPs. However, only 10 are based on responses to the GRARG letter, which tried to set out clearly the implications of any ‘TWAW’ answer. It may be that we would get a different response to those questions.

Regardless, the statistics are sobering. There are a total of 533 constituencies in England; 59 in Scotland; 40 in Wales and 18 in Northern Ireland. So that’s potentially 650 MPs we need to canvass; we have the views of only 22% of them.

But of those 22%, the clear majority are recorded as ‘foe’ – 79 which is 57%

23 are ‘friend’ – 17%

And 38 are ‘unsure – 27%

Therefore, if we exptrapolate those percentages across 650 MPs and assume they are being asked to vote now on whether ‘TWAW’ then that would be roughly 370 MPs against 280 who did not agree or were unsure.

Also we aren’t clear as to why the 27% are ‘unsure’ or what precisely they are unsure about. It’s therefore possible that those in the ‘foe’ column could grow in number.

Given the relatively small sample and the fact its based on a variety of different questions, clearly we can’t put much weight on this. But it’s indications are troubling. We urgently need to know in what direction the Government wishes to go on GRA reform so we can decide in which direction our campaigning efforts are best directed.

Very grateful thanks to @Jessica12uk for her work on compiling the spreadsheet.

FRIENDThangam DebbonaireBristol WestLAB
FRIENDJohn Howell OBEHenley CON
FRIENDJames DalyBury Ramsbottom and TottinghamCON
FRIENDJonathan LordWokingCON
UNSURESuzanne WebbStourbridgeCON
UNSURELucy AllanTelfordCON
UNSUREDavid JonesClwyd WestCON
FOEBarry GardinerBrent NorthLAB
FOETahir AliBirmingham, Hall GreenLAB
FOEElliott ColburnCarsharlton and WallingtonCON
REPLIES TO OTHER LETTERS including info from EMMA PALERMO. NB. Foes are recorded as ‘TWAW’ but this doesn’t necessarily mean they would answer this way if replying to the GRARG letter.
FRIENDS
FRIENDDiane AbbottHackney North LAB
FRIENDJo StevensCardiff CentralLAB
FRIENDGareth BaconOrpingtonCON
FRIENDDuncan BakerNorth NorfolkCON
FRIENDGeoffrey CoxTorridge & West DevonCON
FRIENDDavid DaviesMonmouthCON
FRIENDJackie Doyle PriceThurrochCON
FRIENDIain Duncan SmithChingford and Woodford GreenCON
FRIENDLaura FarrisNewburyCON
FRIENDSally-Ann HartHastings and RyeCON
FRIENDDanny KrugerDevizesCON
FRIENDCaroline NoakesRomsey Southampton NCON
FRIENDMark Pritchardthe WrekinCON
FRIENDElizabeth TrussSW NorfolkCON
FRIENDJames HeappeyWellsCON
FRIENDPatricia GibsonN. AyreshireSNP
FRIENDJoanna CherryEd South WestSNP
FRIENDAngus McNeilNa a-eileanan An LarSNP
FRIENDCarol MonaghanGlasgow NWSNP
FOE/TWAW
FOE/TWAWCat SmithLancaster and FleetwoodLAB
FOE/TWAWKarin SmythBristol SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWAlex SobelLeeds NorthwestLAB
FOE/TWAWKeir StarmerHolborn and St PancrasLAB
FOE/TWAWWes StreetingIlford NorthLAB
FOE/TWAWZarah SultanaCoventy SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWEmily ThornberryIslington S and FinsburyLAB
FOE/TWAWKarl TurnerKingston upon Hull EastLAB
FOE/TWAWCatherine WestHorney and Wood GrnLAB
FOE/TWAWMatt WesternWarwick and LeamingtonLAB
FOE/TWAWNadia WhittomeNottingham EastLAB
FOE/TWAWDaneil ZeicherCambridgeLAB
FOE/TWAWAngela EaglewallaseyLAB
FOE/TWAWTahir AliBirminghamLAB
FOE/TWAWRosena Allina KhanTootingLAB
FOE/TWAWFleur AndersonPutneyLAB
FOE/TWAWClive BettsSheffieldLAB
FOE/TWAWDawn ButlerBrent CentralLAB
FOE/TWAWIan ByrneLiverpool West DarbyLAB
FOE/TWAWDan CardenLiverpool WaltonLAB
FOE/TWAWRichard BurgonLeeds EastLAB
FOE/TWAWBambos CharalambousEnfield SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWStella CreaseyWalthamstowLAB
FOE/TWAWStephen DoughtyCardiff S and PenarthLAB
FOE/TWAWGill FurnissSheffield BrightsideLAB
FOE/TWAWMary GlindonNorth TynesideLAB
FOE/TWAWJeremy CorbynIs NorthLAB
FOE/TWAWKim JohnsonLiverpool RiversideLAB
FOE/TWAWGillian KeeganChichesterLAB
FOE/TWAWDavid LammyTottenhamLAB
FOE/TWAWClive LewisNorwich SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWRebecca Long BaileySalford and EcclesLAB
FOE/TWAWSeema MalhotraFeltham and HestonLAB
FOE/TWAWKerry McCarthyBristol EastLAB
FOE/TWAWStephan MorganPortsmouth SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWIan MurrayEdinburgh SouthLAB
FOE/TWAWAlex NorrisNottingham NorthLAB
FOE/TWAWLuke PollardPlymouth Sutton DevonportLAB
FOE/TWAWLucy PowellManchester CentralLAB
FOE/TWAWYasmin QureshiBolton SELAB
FOE/TWAWAngela RaynerAshton-Under-LymeLAB
FOE/TWAWBell Ribeiro-AddyStreathamLAB
FOE/TWAWMarie RimmerSt. Helens South and WhistonLAB
FOE/TWAWLloyd Russell MoyleBrighton KemptownLAB
FOE/TWAWJess PhillipsBirmingham YardleyLAB
FOE/TWAWRoyston SmithSouthampton ItchenCON
FOE/TWAWNickie AikenWestminsterCON
FOE/TWAWStuart AndrewPudseyCON
FOE/TWAWCrispin BluntReigateCON
FOE/TWAWConnor BurnsBournemeouth WestCON
FOE/TWAWChristopher ChopeChristchurchCON
FOE/TWAWJohn HayesSouth Holland & DeepingsCON
FOE/TWAWDrew HendryInverness Nairn, Badenoch & StratsbyCON
FOE/TWAWMims DaviesMid SussexCON
FOE/TWAWNicola RichardsWest Bromwich EastCON
FOE/TWAWJamie WallaceBridgendCON
FOE/TWAWGary SambrookBirmingham NorthfieldCON
FOE/TWAWPaul HolmesEastleighCON
FOE/TWAWJames SunderlandBracknellCON
FOE/TWAWRichard HoldenNorthWest DurhamCON
FOE/TWAWBen EverittMilton Keynes NorthCON
FOE/TWAWJohn NicolsonOchil and South PerthshireSNP
FOE/TWAWStewart McDonaldGllasgow southSNP
FOE/TWAWDavid LyndonGlasgow EastSNP
FOE/TWAWChris LawDundee WestSNP
FOE/TWAWMartin DochertyW DumbartonshireSNP
FOE/TWAWAngela CrawleyLannarck & Hamilton EastSNP
FOE/TWAWAlan BrownKilmarnokckSNP
FOE/TWAWMhairi BlackPaisley SNP
FOE/TWAWKirsty BlackmanAberdeen NSNP
FOE/TWAWChris StephensGlasgow SWSNP
FOE/TWAWPete WishartPerth and N. PerthshireSNP
FOE/TWAWEdward DaveyKinston and surbitonLIB DEMS
FOE/TWAWChrstine JardineEdinburgh WestLD
FOE/TWAWLayla MoranWest Oxford and AbingdonLD
FOE/TWAWCaroline LucasBrighton PavilionGREEN
UNSURE
TWAW/CONFUSEDAlicia KearnsRutland and MeltonCON
UNSURECaroline AnsellEastbourneCON
UNSURERichard BaconSouth NorfolkCON
UNSURE?Kemi BadenochSaffron WaldrenCON
UNSUREBen BradleyMansfieldCON
UNSURE Karen BradleyStaffs MoorlandsCON
UNSURE Ben BradshawExeterCON
UNSURE Suella BravermanFarehamCON
UNSUREMaria CaulfieldLewes SussexCON
UNSURE?Daniel KawczynskiShewsbury & AtchamCON
UNSUREJonathan LordWokingCON
UNSUREOwen PattersonNorth ShropshireCON
UNSUREDominic RaabEsher and WaltonCON
UNSUREPaul ScullySutton and CheamCON
UNSUREJeremy WrightKenilworth on SouthamCON
UNSUREAndrew PerceyBrigg and GooleCON
UNSURERuth CadburyBrentford and IsleworthLAB
UNSURETonia AntoniazziGowerLAB
UNSURE/FRIENDMarsha D CordovaBatterseaLAB
UNSURE/FRIENDRose DuffieldCanterburyLAB
UNSUREJulie ElliottSunderland CentralLAB
UNSUREHarriet HarmanCamberwell and PeckhamLAB
UNSURECaroline HarrisSwansea EastLAB
UNSUREDiana R JohnsonKingston upon Hull NorthLAB
UNSURE/FRIENDPeter KyleHoveLAB
UNSURESiobhain McDonaghMitcham and MordenLAB
UNSUREJohn Martin McDonnellHayes and HarlingtonLAB
UNSUREPat McFaddenWolverhampton SELAB
UNSUREAnn McMorrinCardiff NorthLAB
UNSUREBridge PhillipsonHoughton & Sunderland SouthLAB
UNSUREJonathan ReynoldsStalybridge and HydeLAB
UNSURE/FRIENDJo StevensCardiff CentralLAB
UNSUREBeth WinterCynom ValleyLAB
UNSURE?Tim FarronWestmoreland & LondsdaleLIB DEMS
UNSUREAlyn SmithSterlingSNP
HOUSE OF LORDS
FRIENDS
FRIENDBaroness NicholsonLD
FRIENDZac GoldsmithCON
FRIENDLewis MoonieLAB
FRIENDPhilip Hunt@LordPhilofBrumLAB

Letter to your MP

This is a project with two aims: first that we make our MPs fully aware of our views on the ‘sex/gender’ conflation and the harm it is doing. Second, that we build up a clear idea of the views of our own MPs. What follows is a suggested draft letter – please edit it or amend it as you wish, but please do include the questions to your MP.

Any comments welcome!

Please email any responses to sarahvphillimore@gmail.com

We will discuss the responses at the meeting on September 2nd.

Suggested letter to MP

Dear 

I am writing to you as your constituent and a member of the Gender Recognition Act Reform Group. We are a group of men and women who have come together to discuss publicly what we see as the problems with the way the Gender Recognition Act 2004 is written – and in particular the harm we believe is being caused by its conflation of ‘sex’ with ‘gender’. 

You will note section 9 of the Act:

Where a full gender recognition certificate is issued to a person, the person’s gender becomes for all purposes the acquired gender (so that if the acquired gender is the male gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a man, and if it is the female gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a woman).

Our group defines sex and gender as is set out in Sex, gender and gender identity: a re-evaluation of the evidence a paper published in the BJPsych Bulletin in July 2020. This is a very helpful resource if you are not familiar with the discussion that has grown up around the Gender Recognition Act.

Sex

Humans are sexually dimorphic: there are only two viable gametes and two sexes, whose primary and secondary sexual characteristics determine what role they play in human reproduction. Sex is determined at fertilisation and revealed at birth or, increasingly, in utero. The existence of rare and well-described ‘disorders (differences) of sexual differentiation’ does not negate the fact that sex is binary. 

Gender

Describes a social system that varies over time and location and involves shaping of a set of behaviours deemed appropriate for one’s sex. It operates at an unconscious level via strong social norms, yet is also rigidly enforced by coercive controls and sometimes violence. The ‘rules’ exist regardless of how individuals feel about them. Gender can thus be perceived as oppressive and potentially painful to all people of both sexes within patriarchal societies, the dominant form of social structure across most, although not all, of the globe.

Arguably, the most significant danger that comes with the conflation of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’, is to give support to the argument that one may ‘self identify’ into either sex, without the need for any bodily modifications by either surgery or medication.

This in turn has lead to a number of organisations and individuals unable or unwilling to provide any definition of what is meant by a ‘woman’. This, in turn has serious implications for the continued protection of ‘sex’ as a characteristic in the Equality Act 2010. We note in particular the very dangerous situation for women if contact sports are no longer segregated by sex.

I am writing so that you are aware, as your constituent, of my strong views on this topic and its importance to me.

I am also writing because I wish to be clear about your own views on this subject and I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions. I would be very happy to meet and discuss this in person or via remote link, if there is anything in my letter that is not clear.

Do you agree that there is a difference between sex and gender and the law should state this clearly?

Do you agree that the definition of ‘woman’ is ‘adult human female’?

Do you agree that women are entitled to access single sex spaces?

Do you agree that ‘self identification’ into one sex or the other, should not become part of the law of England and Wales?

We support the rights of all to live free from abuse and harassment and accept that there are many people who may wish to identify in many different ways. However, we do not think that validation of the wishes of others to identify in a particular way should take precedence over the recognition of an immutable and legally protected characteristic.

2nd Meeting of GRARG

Policy and strategy discussions

15th July 2020


NEXT MEETING: 22nd July IF there is a Government announcement
ZOOM LINK: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4247888422
OTHERWISE: Wednesday 2nd September 2020 8pm

This document is a mixture of some strategy proposals made by one group member and a summary of action agreed at the meeting on 15th July.
The strategy proposals are presented as a starting point; we are still at the beginning of this process so all ideas are welcome.

One key focus/purpose of this group is to have discussions as openly and publicly as possible; to reclaim discussion of this area of law as a natural and necessary part of a mature secular democracy.

The Gender Critic website: the new home for GRARG

How can we ensure The Gender Critic website becomes a trusted resource for the public and press to come to, especially if we can bring together legal views? To be taken seriously and establish a ‘go to’ reputation, the material published on the website must be legally sound. So the GRARG and website runners need to work out some form of quality assurance. We want to be as open as possible. But when we publish online, we should be clear to distinguish between unfiltered group discussions and our considered positions.

ACTION AGREED: SP will continue to add to site and resources sections; all suggestions for more content/amended content welcome.

GRARG members encouraged to sign up for discussion on the site.

Planning strategically for GRARG’s activities

GRA and EQA reform is a big subject so we need to be strategic in deciding what output is worth our spending time on and how we most efficiently achieve that.
We also need to make sure that we both make best use of existing resources from sister groups (with permission) and are not unwittingly ‘doubling up’ effort by working on the same things in parallel with sister groups. So we need to make sure we stay networked with sister groups and check in with each other.

We need specialist policy makers and lawyers to be part of our process, as well as subject experts and people with lived experiences of the current problems. We’ll need help from expert equality/discrimination/ employment lawyers.

We should not start with trying to draft a Bill. Drafting a Bill would take a long time and text which amends existing legislation is not in itself not a helpful document that the public could understand and discuss. Rather, we want our policy goals to be the focus of attention and discussion.

PROPOSALS FOR TWO PROJECTS FOR GRARG

We think it would be most worthwhile for the GRARG to work concurrently on two projects.

Project 1: A project to produce definitive guidance on how the present EQA should be applied in order to ensure single sex exceptions for women and girls

We think producing a definitive guidance on how the present EQA (Equality Act 2010) should be correctly applied would be the quickest win for us as a group, and could have the most immediate practical impact in actually improving daily life for service providers and users.
So the guidance would be a staging post of clarification of existing rights to be used on our way to strengthening female sex-based rights.
Plus, a definitive guidance could be used by women’s rights activists to draw attention to who is not applying the law correctly and why; which in turn would help to further expose that certain organisations and lobby groups have been giving inaccurate guidance.
NB. We must first just check whether this project has been already or is underway

ACTION AGREED: None yet – this needs urgent investigation so that we do not duplicate work already done

Project 2: A project to produce a policy paper detailing: (a) what is wrong with how the GRA and EQA work presently and how they should be amended to ensure better protections for women and girls, and (b) any changes we could make to UK law which would improve life for transgender people in the UK without negatively affecting other protected groups.

Work on the policy paper could be started concurrently with producing the definitive guidance above, as the groundwork for the two projects is similar and would support each project. But writing a policy paper would be a bigger project.

Even if we do decide to work towards drafting a Bill ourselves, it is necessary to write a policy paper as both a precursor to drafting a Bill and a ‘lay person’s guide’ which would sit alongside the Bill explaining what the Bill intends to achieve.


The policy paper would detail what policy goals we want to achieve and why it is necessary to change the legislation to achieve these purposes. This is actually a much more important task than writing the Bill text itself, as Bill drafters don’t know what to write until the policy goals are completely clear.


Our starting point must be a policy paper that sets out step by step what is not working and why. Ie, what problems are already known or are at risk, BOTH in the law itself AND how the law is being applied. And our policy paper should give evidence and examples of all of this.


The policy paper would need to be written and checked by relevant experts: people working in the areas affected (eg, VAWG refuges), people whose lives have already been impacted, lawyers, data analysts, etc.

The document would need to take one by one all each real-life problem and explain:
(a) what each problem is, with evidence, and (b) how we would fix the problem, with evidence.
The good news is that so many pieces of work by many different people have been done over the past few years, which may already cover the whole scope of the field. We could start by drawing up a list of the problem areas and split into a working group for each area. Each group would begin work by surveying and collating all existing work and evidence, and identify any gaps in research or analysis and whether they need plugging for our purposes. We might not need to do any original research.
Before we do anything else, the group must understand how the law works, including how GRA and EQA interact.
This must be the foundation of any work to be done by the group, as the law is often misreported, even in good faith. It’s a complicated area of law.
Happily there are already a lot of good resources written by legal specialists. The GRARG is collecting a list of resources on the website, and group members should suggest resources they know of.

ACTION AGREED: Creation of ‘sub groups’ to work in more privacy to encourage collaboration, particularly for those group members who need to be more careful about privacy. Those sub groups to report back in September.
Identified so far – Police/Criminal Justice; Political contacts

What should be our policy goals?

Policy goals for ensuring sex-based rights and stronger protections for women and girls
We must argue that legislation (EQA/GRA) should be amended to make ‘sex’ clearly defined.
We should consider whether we can get rid of the concept and term ‘gender’ from legislation, because ‘gender’ is virtually indefinable and it is totally mutable. But if this is not possible, we need also to clearly define ‘gender’ for the purposes of the legislation and make sure it matches across everywhere gender is referred to in UK law.

It may be that we should focus primarily on amending the EQA. Our focus should be on strengthening female sex-based rights, not just ‘clarifying’ them. Because it’s clear that the EQA has not been good enough to secure our rights, so it needs to be stronger.

We should argue that it is necessary to turn around the current EQA position, ie reverse the default position. Now it is unlawful to discriminate on grounds of sex except in certain limited circumstances, and the onus is on service providers to prove that they need to provide single-sex services. Instead, the starting position in law should be that service providers must provide single-sex services for women and girls for x, y, z cases. Possibly there could be some limited exceptions allowing service providers to not be single-sex, but the onus would be on the providers to prove why they should not be single-sex, rather than the other way around, and to provide serious safeguards. So overall, single-sex would be the norm and the right of women and girls for single-sex provision would not be qualified.

We should definitely find a way to add to law specific protections for children and youth (minors). Some ideas:
-(1) make it unlawful for the medical and counselling professions to have a practice of ‘affirming’ a feeling of being transgender and instead require them to assess a minor’s whole mental health;
-(2) make it unlawful to prescribe drugs or surgery for minors;
-(3) make special service provision youth aged 18 to 25, in recognition that although they are adults in law, they are vulnerable and their brains, bodies and social intelligence are still developing; and
-(4) make laws to protect educational institutions from lobbying against sex-based rights and gay/lesbian/bisexual rights – eg, the present trend for advice and training for schools and universities on ‘gender identity’ from political groups and ‘charities’.

Ideas for policy goals for improving the lives of transgender people in the UK, without endangering sex-based rights or other protected groups’ rights
We could consider the law on birth certificate privacy for people who have GRCs, in regards to privacy required by ECHR law on Article 8 (the Goodwin judgment). For example, how could it be enabled that birth sex need only be disclosed when it is really necessary for the person with the GRC or for other people?

We should consider whether we can do anything to strengthen protections for transgender people from victimisation, harassment and general discrimination, especially in the workplace. We think the EQA is already very strong on this, but also perhaps it’s not clear enough who can come within the protected characteristic of ‘gender reassignment’. Early days thinking.

We could argue for a legal guarantee of free, comprehensive counselling and support for any child or adult with symptoms of gender dysphoria or body dysmorphia, and that the counselling must be from a neutral point of view rather than affirming or not affirming whether people feel they are transgender.

We can consider whether we could improve the lives of people who don’t conform to sex-role stereotypes by strengthening sex discrimination legislation or guidance. Eg, protecting both women’s and men’s right to wear what they want in the workplace. We think there are real possibilities for taking a feminist approach by protecting women’s and men’s rights to free expression in their appearance or behaviour, without any reference to whether it is necessary to identify as the opposite sex in order to behave in atypical ways.

We can perhaps explore whether the law is working to protect transgender people against acts of physical violence. However, this would be a matter for the criminal law and mostly outside the scope of considering GRA/EQA reform

ACTION AGREED: SP to produce first draft of ‘standard letter’ to MPS – setting out precis of concerns and asking MP to clarify their position. Suggestion that GRARG members also fix face to face meetings with MPS.

A note on ‘belief’, for discussion

We should not describe ourselves as having ‘beliefs’, for example a ‘belief’ in biology or a ‘belief’ that gender is a social construct. Rather, we should describe ourselves as taking positions based on proven material and social science. The reality is that we do not ‘believe’ that there are two biological sexes; rather, it is simply a fact that there are two biological sexes. On the other hand, we can describe trans ideology as being about belief, akin to religious belief. We can consider that people are entitled to hold a belief in trans ideology or any other belief (as required by UK law) but that beliefs should not be given equal weight to facts as evidence, or be forced onto other people. What we are not is one set of ‘believers’ against another and we should avoid any attempts to position us as such.

END

Children and gender identity

Issues around education and medical treatment.

Some useful resources and commentary

Briefings from Transgender Trend

https://www.transgendertrend.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/RSE-and-gender-identity-briefing.pdf

https://www.transgendertrend.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/RSE-Parliamentary-Briefing-No-Outsiders.pdf


Child-on-child sexual abuse in schools:
www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/09/child-on-child-sexual-assaults-soar-police-figures-reveal

Marcus Evans, former Director at the NHS Tavistock and Portman Trust:
www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/03/tavistock-centre-gender-identity-clinic-accused-fast-tracking-young-adults

Susan Evans, phycologist and former nurse at the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS). Her request for a judicial review:
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/11/fear-young-trans-patients-could-sue-nhs-negligence-former-tavistock/

Kirsty Entwhistle, former clinician at GIDS. Her open letter:
https://medium.com/@kirstyentwistle/an-open-letter-to-dr-polly-carmichael-from-a-former-gids-clinician-53c541276b8d

David Bell’s damning report:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/09/04/transgender-children-medically-treated-risk-serious-irreversible/

35 psychologists resigned from GIDS:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/12/12/childrens-transgender-clinic-hit-35-resignations-three-years/

Government inquiry into 4,000% surge in children attending gender clinics:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/09/16/minister-orders-inquiry-4000-per-cent-rise-children-wanting/

Why do so many teenage girls want to change gender?:
https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/tavistock-transgender-transition-teenage-girls-female-to-male/ 

Various discussions on the Child Protection Resource website

See also Safe Schools Alliance UK