Gender consultation gives government the chance to commit to women’s rights
The long-awaited consultation into reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) will be launched tomorrow (3 July), and gives the government the opportunity to commit itself to defending women’s existing sex-based rights says feminist group Woman’s Place UK (WPUK) .
Controversial plans to allow transgender people to easily ‘change sex’ on legal documents are being consulted on by the government. However women’s groups say the plans could mean that men will have easy access to spaces and services reserved for women and girls. These could be day-to-day spaces such as changing rooms, leisure centre showers and public toilets, or specialist services like women-only domestic violence shelters or female prisons.
Legal clauses exist which allow the denial of access to transgender people to women-only spaces and services , but these legal exemptions are infrequently used due to confusion about the law, and the fear that trans people will sue. WPUK say that the GRA consultation gives the opportunity for the government to strengthen the exemptions, and make service providers aware of the exemptions and give them the confidence to use them. WPUK also say that the government must use any reforms to make clear that a person’s ‘sex’ is not the same as ‘gender identity’, and that women are a sex, and have a right to separate services and spaces.
WPUK spokeswoman, Ruth Serwotka, said:“It is essential the government are reminded of the need to protect the rights of women and girls. All services could be impacted by these proposed changes including hospital wards, retail changing rooms, separate toilet facilities and women’s sports. It is time that the needs of women were given proper consideration instead of being over looked.”
 Woman’s Place UK is one of the leading organisations who are speaking up to defend the rights of women and girls to safety, dignity and privacy. WPUK meetings have been growing in size and have taken place in London, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Cardiff, and Birmingham, Newcastle, Todmorden, and Hastings, with more being planned. Woman’s Place UK is a group of people from a range of backgrounds including trade unions, women’s organisations, academia and the NHS. We are united by our belief that women’s hard won rights must be defended. See our five demands on our website here: https://womansplaceuk.