Deadline for third consultation on Gender Recognition Act since 2015: responses to “Call for Evidence” from WEC to be submitted by 27th November 2020
Despite the announcement by the Government on 24th September 2020 of the nature and scope of the changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004, and associated guidance on the Equality Act 2010, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) has seen fit to launch a “Call for Evidence” on the same issues all over again:
The “Terms of Reference” are the important questions and are split into two groups:
(1) The Government’s response to the GRA consultation
(2) Wider issues concerning transgender equality and current legislation
There is no need to answer all the questions. You can choose the ones for which you have evidence and/or a personal view. My gender-critical approach is, of course, the theme running through my responses.
There is one question which allows me to discuss four aspects of the enquiry which the WEC has neglected to address, but which are fundamental.
What else should the Government have included in its proposals, if anything?
The Government should have discussed the intimidation of the Women and Equalities Committee itself since the WEC started discussion of trans matters, before 2015. It has been intimidated by Trans Radical Activists. TRAs have demanded that the WEC pander to their homophobia and misogyny. TRAs have depicted gay sexual orientation as “transphobic” in their faulty logic. Professional and academic women have been sacked or “no-platformed” for uttering gender-critical opinions (e.g. Maya Forstater and Professor Alice Sullivan to name only two of many). Attempts to compel ordinary people to use the “preferred pronouns” of TRAs will backfire as this is coercion. Ordinary people will not agree to hear or use humiliating and dehumanising language. The predictable adverse impacts of the GRA 2004 on women and girls in schools, prisons and hospitals, and on single-sex provisions of all sorts should have been drawn out and discussed by WEC.
The present consultation is a call from the Women & Equalities Committee – a name that reflects the status of Women as a long oppressed and marginalised sex class. So it is shocking that the Terms of Reference for this Trans Enquiry omit mention of the need for an Equality Impact Assessment….. on Women and indeed the document fails to mention Women AT ALL. Surely this is highly irresponsible and fails to follow the Public Sector Equality Duty to foster good relations between protected categories?
This dereliction of statutory duty from both the Government and WEC has also fuelled Quangos and public bodies like the EHCR to follow suit and issue faulty guidance, resulting in: perceived increased harm to the primary “victims” (trans individuals ) and much wider actual harm to the group targetted by TRAs (women). There is harm to society more widely.
Gender identity ideology is a divisive belief tearing the country apart. GI ideology is based on a logical fallacy: it is simply not possible to separate the mind from the body. The mind arises from the body to which it is inextricably linked and no law should be enact a separation. Such a separation was, until recently, universally accepted as evidence of insanity. Gender identity ideology should be declared destructive and rooted out of UK law everywhere.
I think that it is time to grasp the nettle: Gender Identity ideology should be named and its destructive effects discussed.
It is important for respondents to think carefully about their own answers to the questions. I present this question and answer because it encapsulates the fault at the heart of the GRA.
Scottish Gender Recognition reforms – deadline for responses to the consultation is Tuesday 17th March 2020
by Steven Swinford, Deputy Political Editor – The Times
At present NHS rules enable children to start gender transition treatment before puberty without their parents’ support.
Ministers are expected to drop plans to make it easier for people to change their gender [in England and Wales] amid concerns about the impact on children.
The government will formally respond to a public consultation on updating the Gender Recognition Act by the summer. The consultation, which was launched in 2018 by Theresa May, proposed to change the law so that people would be able to officialy transition simply by making a declaration of their gender.
At present they have to receive a medical diagnosis, appear before a specialist panel, and wait for two years for legal recognition of their new gender. They also have to pay a £140 fee.
The proposals to change the Gender Recognition Act have met with criticism from some feminist groups, whose members are concerned about the prospect of trans people being able to use single-sex spaces.
Ministers are also concerned about the impact the proposals could have on children, who are being helped to transition while still developing their “decision-making capabilities”.
At present NHS rules enable children to start gender transition treatment before puberty without their parents’ support. Children unhappy with their birth gender can begin treatment after as few as three therapeutic assessments. They can discuss treatments separately from their parents and are encouraged to self-define their status and to develop “autonomy” in decision-making. Interventions include hormone blockers to suppress puberty and, later, cross-sex hormone therapy. The average age at which children begin such treatments is 14, but some are as young as 12.
NHS England has ordered an independent review into the use of puberty suppressant drugs and cross-sex hormones. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which is responsible for clinical practice guidelines in England and Wales, has also been asked to develop guidance for the first time about referring children to gender identity services.
Existing NHS treatment draws heavily on international guidelines that recommend approaches in care for gender dysphoria.
An NHS contract with the Tavistock & Portman Trust, issued in 2016, says that it will “conform” or “broadly conform” to standards of care issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in 2012. These say that they reflect the best available science and “professional consensus”. The Tavistock Trust works with children and young people with gender identity issues.
However, Gene Feder, professor of primary care at the University of Bristol and an expert in clinical guidelines, said that these fall far below the benchmark for British healthcare guidelines used by Nice and that he would not recommend their use.
Fair Cop judgment gives partial court win and victory for free speech
BBC 14th Feb 2020 : Harry Miller: Police probe into ‘transphobic’ tweets unlawful
On 14th February 2020, the judgement in the case of Harry Miller (“Fair Cop”) was delivered. The judge found that Mr Miller’s allegedly “transphobic” tweets were lawful and that the conduct of Humberside Police in visiting him at his place of work and warning him was disproportionate. The police had wrongly interfered with his right to freedom of speech.
But the more substantial action, a wider challenge to the legality of the College of Policing’s guidelines on “hate crimes”, was rejected.
These define a hate incident as “any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender”.
Mr Justice Julian Knowles rejected Mr Miller’s challenge against the guidelines, ruling they “serve legitimate purposes and [are] not disproportionate”.
The guidelines are problematic because the complainant does not have to provide evidence of any actual harm nor is there a test of “reasonableness” – what a reasonable independent person would understand about the action that is complained of. The guidelines assume that a “hate incident” has been committed on the sole allegation of a complainant, not a “victim“. The use of the word “victim” implies that a “hate incident” has occurred. Thus the guidelines are defective and the bar to proof of a “hate incident” is set far too low.
Mr Miller has appealed against the ruling about the College of Policing guidance and permission has been granted for the case to go straight to the Supreme Court.