For saying that teachers shouldn’t pander to trans pupils, Suella Braverman has found herself in hot water. The Attorney General suggested in an interview with the Times that male pupils should not be able to use girls’ toilets, and that single-sex schools can indeed restrict admission to children of just one sex. These are hardly revolutionary ideas, but they appear to have upset the National Education Union.
There are two things the liberal commentariat tend to forget about the ‘silent majority’, that great mass of ordinary people who don’t get involved in arcane discussions of modish topics, but who make their views known at every election.
As Keir Starmer still struggles to tell us what he thinks the word ‘woman’ means, some much-needed common sense has been injected into the transgender debate. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance for providers of single-sex and separate-sex services: in short, it says bathrooms and domestic abuse refuges can be single sex in certain circumstances. This is welcome news for women – and for transgender folk like me.
If anyone can change their legal sex – just because they want to – then what it means to be a woman becomes no more than a feeling in a man’s head. No wonder that a growing number of women are concerned about the Scottish Government’s proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act.
The trans debate was less toxic when it was a process, not an identity.
Stonewall’s ‘Diversity Champions’ programme appears to have been haemorrhaging members since an investigation by the university of Essex found that the organisation had been preaching ‘Stonewall Law’ rather than the actual law.
But it is not only corporations, councils and government departments who have been persuaded to part with good money to receive questionable advice. Stonewall’s similarly named ‘Schools and Colleges Champion Programme’ seems to have sucked places of education into the charity’s web as well. As a teacher I know how tight school budgets have become in recent years, but it seems that several schools have still found money to hand over to Stonewall.
Debbie Hayton reports on the endless moves in Parliament to amend the Gender Recognition Act and asks whether MPs are focussed on the wrong target.
The government’s decision to reject ‘self-ID’ is a victory for this transgender woman. When I transitioned eight years ago, I had two ambitions: to keep my job and to stay out of the press. I achieved the first, but failed the second. However, this week’s announcement vindicates my decision to speak out.
The British Medical Association is the latest organisation to fall victim to gender identity ideology. At the BMA’s annual representative meeting, medics called on the government to let anyone change their legal sex on the basis of a ‘witnessed, sworn statement’. But in the midst of a pandemic, is this really a matter worthy of being listed as a prioritised motion on the agenda?
Gender recognition is the ultimate political hot potato. Three years after Justine Greening — the then Equalities Minister — announced a public consultation on changes to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, and two years after the public were finally asked for their views, we are still far from resolution. As the months passed, many assumed that the Government had kicked it into the long grass, if not the primeval forest.
The consultation itself came and went a year later in 2018 amid fervent campaigns by transgender activists eager to allow legal gender changes on demand, and women’s groups concerned that their boundaries would be rendered meaningless as a result. If men can identify as women — for whatever reason they might choose — how can they be kept out? It is naïve to rely on the argument that “men wouldn’t do that, would they?” Spaces such as changing rooms are most often cited, but also at risk are prisons, hospital wards, reserved places on committees and boards, scholarships and, indeed, every sex-based protection.
For the past two years, the hot potato never went cold — on the contrary, it ignited a social media inferno. The furore surrounding JK Rowling — condemned as a transphobe for reclaiming the word woman to describe her sex — is remarkable only because she is a public figure.