Gender Recognition Act Reform

LGB Alliance Statement on reports that the UK Government plans to drop its previous proposals to reform the GRA

LGB ALLIANCE promotes and defends the rights of LGB people. We, therefore, applaud reports that Liz Truss may reverse previous proposals to rewrite the Gender Recognition Act (2004) in ways that would have undermined the central importance of biological sex.

If the reports are true, we welcome the direction she appears to be taking with open arms. It’s long overdue. The protections afforded our rights as LGB people in the Equality Act (2010) are rooted in simple, clear definitions of biology, i.e. that there are only two sexes, male and female, not some multitude of genders on a gender spectrum. Gay people are same-sex attracted, not same-gender attracted. Therefore, the previous plan to enshrine the concept of a vague and multi-faceted ‘gender identity’ into law would have spread confusion and would inevitably have been a threat to our rights.

We note that seven political parties’ LGBT groups have written a joint statement denouncing the proposal to reverse the previous proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act and have made utterly predictable accusations of transphobia. It’s almost impossible to avoid this much-misused word now. Pointing out that males don’t have vulvas and females don’t have a penis invites accusations of transphobia. One can be accused of transphobia for asserting the truth that only an almost vanishingly tiny minority of people (less than 0.05%) could be said to be of indeterminate sex. One can be lambasted as ‘transphobic’ just for objecting to the use of the word ‘menstruators’ instead of ‘women’, as happened recently to JK Rowling. We do not accept that it is transphobic to back scientific reality or to ensure that the law reflects that reality.

These organisations claim to represent LGB members of their parties. They don’t. They’re mainly peopled by activists linked to the plethora of LGBTQ+ lobby groups such as Stonewall that have grown bloated on huge funding, much of it from the taxpayer, and who use their undue influence to misinterpret and undermine both the spirit and the letter of existing law. This ‘Stonewall Law’, however loudly and persistently it is repeated, is not in fact the law of the land.

We are proud to live in a country, Great Britain, that was among the first to enshrine LGB rights in law and where both main political parties have played their part in extending them. The Conservatives in power earned the gratitude of all gay people in the UK for enacting legislation for Equal Marriage. We look forward to working with them to protect and enhance those advances. If and when the Labour party leadership decides to ditch its support for the notion of self-ID, we will be more than happy to work with them too.

We argue that the present furore and division over trans rights began in 2014 when the influential, well-funded charity Stonewall decided to focus almost exclusively on trans rights.  Before then, it had focused on LGB rights. This is easy to verify. In 2011, when Stonewall issued a 40-page Guide to the Equality Act, this Guide did not contain a single reference to ‘LGBT’ or to trans rights. You can read the 2011 Stonewall report here:

In the not-so-distant past, Stonewall used the campaigning slogan: ’Some People Are Gay, Get Over It’. Today its message is starkly different. It basically comes down to: ‘some men have vulvas and some women have a penis…and if you’re gay Get Over It.’

We believe the conflict between trans rights and the rights of LGB people ­– and women’s rights – has been exacerbated because of a radical change in the demands of trans people and the extraordinary widening of the definition of trans. When the GRA and Equality Act were written, people who were then called ‘transsexuals’ were a tiny minority. The debate in Hansard records many assurances that this was the case. We believe that in the rush to sympathise with and protect what was seen to be – and still is – this vulnerable and very small minority, insufficient attention was paid to the contradictions between the Equality Act exceptions for women’s single-sex spaces and the determination of the Gender Recognition Act to promote the rights of transsexuals. This was partly because transsexuals (as Hansard also makes clear) were thought to be almost universally people who had already, were undergoing or were planning massive surgical change to their bodies. They were also defined as people who had a recognised medical condition, gender dysphoria. All these assumptions that were baked into legislation have been upended.

While most people in Britain still think that a ‘trans’ person refers only to a transsexual who has gone through some actual physical process to become more like their ‘chosen’ sex, this is no longer the case anymore. Now the gender identity lobby defines ‘transgender’ so broadly and vaguely that almost any man can declare he is a woman and he is supposed to be believed.

Stonewall now advises councils, fire services and police authorities that ‘trans’ is an umbrella of ‘identities’ from genderqueer and agender to neutrois and cross-dressers – the latter being people who were once called ‘transvestites’. We are yet to be enlightened as to what ‘neutrois’ means but we wish them all the best. We wonder what police and fire officers and local council workers make of all this.

The important thing is that both the good British public and the framers of the original Gender Recognition Act never imagined that cross-dressers needed the intervention of the law to protect them. We argue the law should be left as it is and if ‘transsexual’ is to be redefined it must be done in ways that employers and the ordinary public can both support and understand. How would an employer ever defend themselves against an accusation they had been transphobic against someone who defines themselves as ‘neutrois’?

The changes demanded by trans activists include proposals that the age a GR certificate can be issued be reduced from 18 to 16. This is a thoroughly bad idea, which we oppose.

The number of children seeking help at gender identity clinics has skyrocketed in recent years. Much of this, we believe, is driven by social contagion. This legislative change would add fuel to that fire, normalising and encouraging the notion that children can be ‘born in the wrong body’, something that has absolutely no basis in science.

This change would mean even fewer young men and women being given the chance to grow out of the phase they may believe they’re trapped in. It would set even more on a pathway to sterility and lifelong medicalisation.

By contrast, we are proud to stand against the gaslighting of young vulnerable people and in total solidarity with millions of women concerned that their rights are being eroded in the pursuit of a strange ideology that has no place in our laws; and we urge and hope Liz Truss and the government will do the same.