The word “woman” has been understood to include trans women for many, many years. A common theme of feminism is that there’s more to being a woman than simple biology.
Yet the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), in today’s letter to the Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, seems to be indicating that it is keen to assist in the redefinition of the word, a redefinition driven by political desire and manufactured fear more than any systematic evidence.
Our challenge to the increasingly misnamed EHRC and Secretary of State is why it is necessary now to try to redefine “woman” to exclude trans women (and include trans men) when there is no evidence of problems actually caused by the understanding that has existed for decades.
By insinuating in its previous advice that organisations should exclude trans people from single sex services and spaces, and now proposing that Parliament actively considers effectively removing trans people from sex-based protections under the Equality Act, the EHRC continues demonstrating its inability to fight for human rights for everybody. Trans people no longer seem to be people in their eyes. Our pains and struggles are seemingly irrelevant.
Is the EHRC really suggesting that trans people should be able to marry as our authentic selves, yet be barred from the spaces and facilities that allow us to live our daily lives?
However, we know that the vast majority of the British people maintain a “live and let live” approach, and that, despite an intense and hostile media campaign over many years, the public still views the so-called “transgender debate” of stunningly little importance.
People now look on the monstering of lesbians and gay men in the 1980s and 1990s with horror. We believe that people in the near future will look in exactly the same way at what this Government, its agencies and the British press are doing to trans people today. There are many, many similarities between the language and tactics used then and those used now.
Rather than trying to find ways to victimise communities which the EHRC should be bound to protect, we urge the Commission and this Government to stop this persecution, which has been noted around the world, to listen to trans and non-binary people, and to change direction to pursue equality for all.
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