- Since publishing this guidance we have received a response to our email about the date the Inquiry was launched. We have been assured that the Inquiry commenced on 28th October, the day of the press release, and not 6th October.
Last Wednesday (28 October) we learned that the Women and Equalities Select Committee (WESC) will hold an Inquiry into Reform of the Gender Recognition Act.
The call for written evidence closes to submissions on Friday 27 November.
The Inquiry is split into two sections, on the Government’s response to the GRA consultation and on wider issues concerning transgender equality and current legislation. The WESC has stated that they may consider these different sections in two phases.
It is not unusual for a Committee to establish an inquiry to respond to Government recommendations or proposals for legislation, and parliamentary committees have a great deal of freedom in how they choose to scrutinise the work of government.
Despite the short timeframe, we know that many of our followers will have relevant evidence that they wish to submit to the Inquiry and we encourage them to do so.
The Committee is mostly new members who will not have been involved in previous considerations so it will be important to make sure they understand the issues and hear women’s voices. They must be in no doubt that these proposals do not simply impact a small number of people and that for any changes to be effective they must take into account the views and concerns of the whole population but, in particular, women and those with other protected characteristics.
Woman’s Place UK will also be making our own submission to the Inquiry in response to this Call for Evidence.
The Call for Evidence contains specific questions, many of which are similar to those in the consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act.
You do not have to answer all the questions, but can focus just on those most important to you.
Although there is no specific reference to the possible impact on women of enabling individuals to change their legal sex by self-declaration alone, there are several questions that particularly invite responses on this issue.
For example: Are the provisions in the Equality Act for the provision of single-sex and separate-sex spaces and facilities in some circumstances clear and useable for service providers and service users? If not, is reform or further guidance needed?
You may want to give practical examples, with evidence, based on your own experiences of single-sex and separate-sex spaces and facilities. If you have evidence of services being inhibited in their use of legal single-sex exemptions, or challenged for doing so, you can submit it. Make sure you say what reform or guidance you would like to see.
You may find some of these articles useful:
Gender neutral toilets don’t work for women September 2018
Links to other resources on toilets here
Sex is a protected characteristic June 2018
Sex Matters Kiri Tunks Morning Star August 2017
Are there challenges in the way the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010 interact? For example, in terms of the different language and terminology used across both pieces of legislation.
Jullian Norman in the House of Lords October 2018
See also Legal Feminist
Does the spousal consent provision in the Act need reforming? If so, how? If it needs reforming or removal, is anything else needed to protect any rights of the spouse or civil partner?
If you have personal experience as the spouse or civil partner of someone proposing to apply, or applying for, a Gender Recognition Certificate, it is vital that your voice is heard on this question.
To be accepted, submissions should not be published (for example, they should not be put on a blog), but if accepted by the Committee will eventually be published by Parliament and can then be quoted by you in its entirety or linked to. You can ask for your submission to be anonymous. Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a submission, in which case it should be clearly referenced, preferably with a hyperlink. It is important not to comment on matters currently before a court of law, or matters in respect of which court proceedings are imminent.
The Committee gives clear guidance about the form that submissions should take: