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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
- We have a right to speak publicly about the laws of our country.
- This speech is protected political speech under ECHR Article 10.
- Others have a right to disagree with us.
- But no one has the right to harass or threaten any other who is exercising their right to protected political speech.
- Discussion of laws and policy must be open.
- Those impacted by law or policy must be consulted.
Sex, Gender and Gender Identity
- The definition of a ‘woman’ is ‘adult human female’
- The definition of a ‘man’ is ‘adult human male’.
- There are only two sexes; male and female.
- Sex is determined at fertilisation and revealed at birth or even before.
- Sex is not determined by clothes, hairstyles, choice of pronouns or activities.
- Human beings cannot change sex.
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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.
- ‘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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nobody should be harassed, threatened or suffer unlawful discrimination because of how they look or wish to be called.
- 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.
- A belief in a ‘gender identity’ is subjective, cannot be falsified and is not universally accepted as true.
- ‘Sex’ ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’ are therefore categorically different things and must not be conflated.
- Sex is a protected characteristic pursuant to the Equality Act 2010. ‘Gender’ or ‘Gender identity’ are not.
- Single and separate sex services, associations and sports are protected by the Equality Act 2010.
We hold these issues worthy of discussion
- 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
- Ermine Amies
- Alessandra Asteriti
- Julie L Baillie
- Seonaid Dawn Barber
- Clare Blom
- Lisa Bowley
- Dawne Brown
- Kiera Cadwell
- Mairi Cameron
- Guffi Chohdri
- Kate Coleman
- Wendy Cockroft
- D. Clough
- Alison Dowling
- Jeni E
- Jessica Evans
- Elizabeth Griffiths
- Jennifer Griffiths
- Isobel Htay
- Mary Humphreys
- Jon Irwin
- Alison Jenner
- Rob Jessel
- Rachel King
- Nick Langford
- Christina Lamb
- Diane Lawler
- Angi Mansi
- Michelle Mealor
- Hugh Meechan
- Celia Mindelsohn
- John AP Moir
- C. Moravec
- Nuria Muina
- Julia O’Connor
- Margaret Ann Pearson
- Miriam Peck
- Max Pell
- Edith Pender-Hiom
- Sarah Phillimore
- Linda Ramsay
- Hannah Ray
- Miriam Richards
- Victoria Richards
- Stasia Richardson
- Nigel Scott
- Deborah Siddoway
- Amrane Smith
- Kate Styles
- Maggie Siviter
- A. Thomas
- Ruth Walls
- Kay Warner
- Karen Varley
- M. Znaidi