Welsh Government commits to end women’s sex-based rights

In July 2020, in response to the UK Government’s decision not to reform the Gender Recognition Act, Jane Hutt and Jeremy Miles published a ‘Statement of Support for Wales’ Trans Communities’.

At the heart of that statement are two sentences which, if followed through at policy level, will end the sex-based rights of women and girls in Wales.

We believe trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. We restate our support for trans people’s right to self-identification.”

If men can become women simply by saying that they are women, we will lose the right to female-only spaces – refuges, homeless hostels, hospital wards, mental-health units, prisons, toilets, changing rooms. We will lose our right to single-sex services, our right to request a female health professional or a female carer for ourselves or for elderly relatives. We will lose women-only sports, women-only short-lists and women-only opportunities.

Merched Cymru’s members have met with Jane Hutt, and with Mark Drakeford. We have sent letters and emails, reports and detailed statistics. We have explained that self-identity will undermine women’s safety, dignity and opportunities and provided evidence to support that claim from countries across the world. We have provided statistics that show that men who identify as women retain male-pattern offending rates and have pointed out that less than 10% undergo genital surgery. They remain men, physically and biologically.

Our concerns have been repeatedly dismissed.

The 2020 ‘Statement of Support’ also set out Welsh Government’s intention to provide funding to Stonewall Cymru to work with stakeholders to develop a Trans Action Plan. This remit was then expanded; Stonewall were commissioned to develop a ‘Wales LGBTQ Action Plan’.

We pointed out that Stonewall are publicly committed to ending women’s sex-based rights and that it was inappropriate for an anti-women lobby group to be leading on this important policy work. We also pointed out that ‘LGBTQ’ is not a homogeneous group, and that there are growing numbers of LGB people who feel that Stonewall do not speak for them.

As stakeholders we asked if we could be involved in the discussions. LGB Alliance and LGB Alliance Cymru also offered their expertise, along with human rights expert Professor Rosa Freedman, members of the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine, Transgender Trend, Safe Schools Alliance, Labour Women’s Declaration and Fair Play for Women, among others.

We were not invited to contribute.

The ‘Wales LGBTQ Action Plan’ is now published.

If the commitments in the Plan are implemented, it will end the rights of women and girls to single-sex spaces, services and opportunities.

We have until October to respond. The consultation might well be tokenistic. We no longer trust this government to work in our best interests. Nonetheless it is essential that we raise our voices.

We will publish guidance on how to respond in September, and issue a call for collective action.

We do not consent to a society organized around the belief system of gender rather than the objective reality of biological sex.

Picture courtesy of Wojtek Gurak