Evidence of calls to remove single sex exemptions from Equality Act

The announcement by the government that they have no intention of altering the Equality Act 2010 or removing the single sex exemptions is very welcome. Since that statement was made, some have claimed that there had never been any calls for, or intention to, change equality law and or to remove these exemptions. This is not true.

This page provides evidence of calls for, and the consideration of, the removal of single sex exemptions from the Equality Act as part of the review of the Gender Recognition Act.

This page was updated on 26th June 2018 with information sent to us by supporters. If you have any other examples, please send us via our contact page.

It is only thanks to the hard work and campaigning done by grassroots women’s organisations and their allies that the Government’s position has shifted.

We are still not clear how changes to the GRA and proposals to move to a model of self-declaration will impact on the Equality Act and the exemptions.

We look forward to taking a full part in the forthcoming consultation and will be issuing guidance to assist others to make sure their voices are heard.

 

 

Scottish Trans Alliance – Equality Network 21st August 2015

The STA’s submission to the Women & Equalities Select Committee Transgender Inquiry states

The Equality Act 2010 should be amended to:

  • include gender identity as a protected characteristic
  • remove the exception that allows single sex services to discriminate against trans people
  • remove the genuine occupational requirement (GOR) allowing some jobs to require applicants must be cisgender and replace it with a GOR allowing posts delivering trans-specific services to require applicants must be transgender.

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STA submission wesci

Gendered Intelligence 21st August 2015

Gendered Intelligence’s submission to the Women & Equalities Select Committee Transgender Inquiry states in its executive summary:

“We need a comprehensive review of the legislation affecting trans people (and intersex people) with the aim of deleting the exceptions laid out in the GRA 2004 and EA 2010.”

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Stonewall 27th August 2015

Stonewall’s submission to Women & Equalities Select Committee Inquiry on Transgender Equality calls for

“A review of the Equality Act 2010 to include ‘gender identity’ rather than ‘gender reassignment’ as a protected characteristic and to remove exemptions, such as access to single-sex spaces”

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Women & Equalities Select Committee Report 2015-2016

The Committee calls for the Equality Act to be amended

“…so that the occupational requirements provision and/or the single-sex/separate services provision shall not apply in relation to discrimination against a person whose acquired gender has been recognised under the GRA 2004.”

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This is repeated in the recommendations of the report:

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The Government response to the Women & Equalities Select Committee Transgender Inquiry proposals July 2016

In response to the recommendation from the Committee, the Government says

“We agree with the principle of this recommendation, that those who sought and have completed a gender transition – and who have secured a Gender Recognition Certificate – should be afforded the full legal and social status of their acquired gender.”

 

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It goes on to say

“We understand the concerns being raised by some transgender people about the provisions. The Government is keen to ensure that that law in this area operates fairly and is not abused, therefore we are keen to receive further representations and evidence on the availability and use of the exceptions in the Equality Act 2010 from all affected parties to take into account for future policy discussions. “

 

Stonewall: A Vision for Change 2017

In this document, Stonewall recognises that:

“The Equality Act also allows trans people to be treated differently in particular situations.  When applying for certain jobs, participating in sport, accessing single-sex services, serving in the Armed Forces, or attending school a trans person’s rights are not the same as everyone else’s.”

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It then declares

“Stonewall will advocate for the removal of all instances of permitted discrimination of trans people from the [Equality} Act.”

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Early Day Motion 355 10th October 2017

EDM 355 moves that:

“This House agrees that the recommendations of the Women and Equalities Committee report on transgender equality needs to be implemented in full…”

The Women & Equalities Select Committee Transgender Inquiry recommended that

“…the occupational requirements provision and/or the single-sex/separate services provision shall not apply in relation to discrimination against a person whose acquired gender has been recognised under the GRA 2004.”

The signatories to this EDM are therefore calling for the removal of single sex exemptions from the Equality Act 2010.

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EDM 355 is sponsored by Stephen Doughty and co-sponsored by Angela Eagle, Gerard Killen, West Streeting, Martin Docherty and Dan Carden.

As of 27th June, 30 other MPs had signed to support it. Is your MP one of them?

 

Campaigning works

We believe that the single sex exemptions in the Equality Act are a vital protection of women’s spaces and a recognition of the need for reserved places, separate spaces and distinct services.

The Government’s position has changed.

We are glad that the Government has changed its attitude on removing single sex exemptions as stated in its response to the petition to consult with women on proposals to enshrine ‘gender identity in law.

“We are clear that we have no intention of amending the Equality Act 2010, the legislation that allows for single sex spaces. Any GRA reform will not change the protected characteristics in the Equality Act nor the exceptions under the Equality Act that allow for single and separate sex spaces.”

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Make no mistake. This change of attitude would not have happened without you.

Let’s keep going and get a law that works for everyone.

You can read our 5 demands here

 

omen need reserved places, separate spaces & distinct service