Letter to your MP

Latest posts by Sarah Phillimore (see all)

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.

9 Comments

  • TTA

    This seems to suggest that the current proposals from the major groups include allowing to self-ID as another sex. This isn’t the case. They support self-ID for Gender Recognition Certificates which is not the same as sex. It’s important to be accurate to make a convincing case.

    • Sarah Phillimore

      Thank you for your comment. I don’t think the post was inaccurate but I am all in favour of as much clarity as possible so I have amended it to quote in full section 9 which clearly does state that a GRC means that a person who has one is now to be treated as the other sex.

      I think we can all agree that is nonsense and must be re-drafted.

  • Jessica12uk

    Great letter. Succinct and to the point. It will make them have to say yes, no, or ‘I’ll think about it’.

    One small thing. The word ‘drafted’ jars a bit. I know it’s correct legalise but to my ear it sounds as if it refers to something being drafted now. Maybe ‘wording’ is better.

  • SMW

    It is also worthwhile writing to Members of the House of Lords, several of whom, Lord Lucas, Baroness Nicholson, Lord Moonie and Lord Blencathra, are definitely in the side of women who want single-sex spaces and many others are likely to be. Peers can be contacted via the Parliament website. It might be worth mentioning that Parliament’s Gender Identity Guidance makes all showers, toilets and changing rooms on the Parliamentary Estate open to both sexes if the magic words “I’m trans” are uttered. I bet they don’t know that.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: