Briefing update for MPs, Peers and Party members on sex-based rights and GRA reform. We prepared this briefing in anticipation of the Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss announcing the outcome of the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA), possible changes to guidance on application of the single-sex exceptions in the Equality Act 2010 (EA), and a possible ban on conversion therapy for LGBT people. We hope it is helpful for all those engaged in discussions within the Party and beyond.
1. There is a conflict of rights between women and trans people in terms of the legal definition of sex, which impacts on the Equality Act. Denying this is damaging to both women and trans people – there must be respectful, evidence-based discussion to resolve this conflict of rights, and Labour should lead on this.
2. Single sex spaces and services are required in several contexts for the safety, privacy and dignity of women and girls, and to facilitate their participation in public life. If males are permitted to self-identify as women and access female-only spaces and services, they are no longer single sex. This undermines women’s privacy, and undermines safeguarding and risk management in prisons, refuges and healthcare settings.
3. As transwomen who hold a GRC are legally female, their comparator class in a discrimination claim is women. This has the potential to undermine anti-discrimination law.
4. In relation to the possible ban on conversion therapy for LGBT people, the clear distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity, and what conversion therapy means in these two different contexts, must be understood. We urge caution in the detail of such a ban, as this could adversely affect the care that psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists are able to provide for gender-questioning, gender non-conforming or gender dysphoric people without fear of breaking the law.
5. Women within the Labour Party have been bullied and harassed for stating their opinions about sex and gender. This is unacceptable, and all MPs should stand up for women’s freedom of speech.