Following the recent challenge to the UK from the Council of Europe for its inadequate protection of the LGBTI community, leading to an ‘extensive and virulent’ attack on their rights, it is hugely disappointing to see the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) supporting further delays to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reforms in Scotland. This is based on the views of a small but vocal minority who are actively working against the best interests of trans people. The qualification that the scope of those affected by the GRC process will change “from a small defined group, who have demonstrated their commitment and ability to live in their acquired gender, to a wider group who identify as the opposite gender at a given point” is in itself so ill-defined as to be meaningless. Either the EHRC accepts the existence and rights of trans people, as defined in the Equality Act 2010, or it is unfit for purpose.
It is also very concerning to see the EHRC response to the UK Government Consultation on Banning Conversion Therapy, published yesterday. This states that the report lacks clear definitions of the terms ‘conversion therapy’ and ‘transgender’, but these both have very straightforward and specific meanings that the EHRC should be able to understand if qualified to comment on the issues in question. Trans people are not confused homosexual people. Affirmative care is the opposite of conversion. Yet their response does nothing but reinforce dangerous misconceptions.
As an organisation defined by its dedication to human rights, the EHRC should be committed to supporting the rights of trans people over and above the ideological resistance of a minority of anti-trans campaigning organisations. The Feminist Gender Equality Network strenuously protest the EHRC attack on the rights of transgender people, and those of the wider LGBTQIA+ community. We call on the EHRC to fulfil its statutory duties with regards to human rights and equality across all nine protected characteristics, as clearly defined in the Equality Act 2010.
They should be defending us, not laying siege to our defences.
Stonewall have an open letter which we would encourage everyone who can to sign. You can find it here: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/open-letter-stand-trans-rights