Advice for gender critical voters in Wales

As the General Election looms ever closer, we’ve been asked by a few of you amazing women for any guidance on how best to use your vote, given the dismal record of all parties in Wales on women’s rights.

We wish we could provide some reassurance and point you in a clear direction, but there’s no getting away from it – the choice is pretty thin for women who don’t believe in gender identity ideology and want to see women’s single sex spaces and services protected.

As an organisation, Merched Cymru is apolitical, but we have a lot of sympathy for our sisters who usually support Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats or the Green Party.

Below is a brief rundown of the parties’ positions with regard to recognising the importance of sex and protecting the rights of women and girls. You can find more in-depth analyses on the Sex Matters website.


The Conservatives are the only party that is clear that legal protections for trans-identifying people should not come at the expense of the safety, privacy and dignity of women and girls. The party also commits to clarifying the definition of ‘sex’ in the Equality Act to make it explicit that it refers to biological sex.

Welsh Labour

There have been a few encouraging noises from Labour’s Wes Streeting in the media over the last week or so, but these are undermined by the manifesto commitment to ‘reforming’ the process for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) that effectively amounts to self-ID by the back door. Also of concern is the party’s commitment to ending ‘all forms of conversion therapy’, which runs counter to the clear recommendations in the Cass Review about supporting gender-distressed children.

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru has nailed its colours firmly to the mast with a commitment to seeking powers from Westminster to enable Wales to introduce a de-medicalised self ID system. Plaid also wants to ban ‘all forms of conversion therapy’ regardless of the Cass Review recommendations.

Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems also commit to making it easier to obtain a GRC as well as promising to introduce legal recognition for ‘non-binary identities’. The party also wants to scrap the spousal consent clause, which gives spouses of transitioning partners the right to have their marriage dissolved before a full GRC is awarded. This would disproportionately affect women, as the majority of those who transition later in life are men.

Green Party

No surprises from the Greens, who reiterate their commitment to introducing gender self-ID for trans and non-binary people, which would completely undermine sex-based protections. The manifesto makes no reference to the Equality Act and, like the Lib Dems, pledges to scrap the spousal consent clause.

So, we’re sorry that we can’t give you a definitive answer about which party is best to vote for because we’re as stumped as anyone. We know many women are planning to spoil their votes. We understand the sentiment, but we should also highlight that it is very unlikely that candidates will see the spoiled ballots so don’t spend too long drafting an angry essay.

Others will grudgingly lend their vote to their usual party in the hope that they can influence the direction it takes post-election. Whatever decision you eventually make, if the opportunity arises for you to question your candidates, whether at a hustings or if they are canvassing in your area, please ensure you take it.

Challenge them on their position regarding women’s rights and insist that they give you a clear answer without any waffle about ‘culture wars’ or ‘toxic debates.’ Most importantly, do not let them derail the conversation by talking about trans rights – we are concerned with the rights of women and girls. What are they going to do to protect those?