Pushing back women’s rights in Wales

Welsh Government have commenced consultation on its LGBTQ+ Action Plan. They have issued the draft plan to much fanfare and have commissioned Stonewall Cymru, the leading Welsh LGBTQ+ NGO, to pull together ‘queer’ perspectives. So far so good one might think. But of course, anyone paying attention, any politician with their finger on the pulse, knows that it is not as simple as that. Politicians can no longer pretend that there is only one point of view that matters when it comes to ‘queer’ voices; that of Stonewall. The terrain is fraught with increasing numbers of people, especially women and lesbian and gay people themselves, raising serious concerns about Stonewall’s approach.

Their opposition cannot be dismissed out of hand in a society that supports democratic dialogue.

In 2017 Stonewall quietly submitted evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee in Westminster. In their submission they argued for the removal of safe spaces for women from provisions within the Equality Act. As such they were supporting a view that would prevent women from accessing female-only trauma-informed services. The consequences of their tinkering with the law would have a profound effect, leaving rape crisis centres, female prisons, female hospital wards and women’s sports open to male access.

Why would a progressive charity support such a view?

Because they were promoting the idea, prevalent in ‘queer theory’, that anyone born male should be able to self-identify as the opposite sex. Their view, some would argue fanaticism, can be summarised in the liturgy ‘Trans women are women’, chanted as a religious doctrine at anyone who disagrees with them. They have attempted to remove from our public space the widely held, scientific view that sex is biological, binary and immutable, branding it transphobic and bigoted.

‘What is a woman?’ is now being asked of leading politicians. And all politicians must get used to providing an answer. At the moment many answer with nonsense: ‘it’s a feeling’, ‘it’s an attitude’,  ‘it’s complicated’.  Some politicians like to suggest the question should not be up for debate because the little people, who make up the electorate, who are women, or have daughters, sisters, mothers, female partners, on who these issues will directly impact, should be silenced and not allowed a view. These attitudes are learned directly from the Stonewall queer play book. It is arguable that Stonewall has an unhealthy grip on our political institutions and our public bodies. It appears from the LGBT+ Action Plan, that they have an unhealthy grip on the Welsh Government too.

The Welsh government consultation has not factored in the need to talk to a wider view than that of Stonewall or to listen to the views of ordinary people.

Women are people too and many of us are very angry. Scores of feminist groups have sprung up throughout Wales, as well as in the rest of the UK to oppose the onward march of Stonewalls agenda. The Action Plan, if it goes ahead without taking into account the views of these feminist organisations, will create a very divisive, damaging framework within Wales. It is not the job of any governing party to sit in a comforting echo chamber, pay for (the Welsh government fund Stonewall Cymru) and then only listen to the views of one interested party. The views of the grassroots feminist groups – ordinary women who have self-organised without public subsidy – should also be at the heart of this consultation.

The Welsh Government are about to push back women’s rights, and should be made aware that in doing so they meet with profound opposition. ‘If you don’t support my sex you will not get my X’ is a trending political slogan for good reason.

Merched Cymru and LGB Alliance Cymru are working together to respond to Welsh Government’s LGBT+ Action Plan. See our page here.