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The great gender debate

Woman’s Place UK (WPUK) is coming to Hastings on 20 June. This is part of a series of meetings about reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA 2004) that WPUK has been invited to organise by local groups concerned about the lack of consultation by the government and political parties. Posted by Kay Green on behalf of Woman’s Place UK.

Anybody would be able to change their gender legally by simply signing an official form. Clarity is therefore sought around the legal status of women who are born female. WPUK seeks to uphold the rights of women.

The aim of the meetings is to help women everywhere understand the proposed law-changes around equalities and women’s rights, prompted by the movement for gender reassignment reform. The changes to the GRA 2004 being proposed would mean that the protected characteristic of ‘Women’ in the Equalities Act 2010 (EA 2010) could be undermined if ‘self-definition of gender identity’ is adopted. If anyone can self-declare their gender identity, without medical and psychological support or treatment, then this would conflict with the EA 2010 and could be to the detriment of women and trans people (with a Gender Recognition Certificate issued under the GRA 2004)). Self-declaration of gender identity would mean just that – no longer would there be a requirement to be diagnosed as suffering from Gender Dysphoria or to undergo counselling or to ‘live in your chosen gender for 2 years’. Trans people would not be entitled to any counselling or any hormonal/surgical treatment.

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The campaign group has five demands of our government: 1. Respectful and evidence-based debate on the impact of law-changes – women’s voices must be heard. 2. The principle of women-only spaces to be upheld and, where necessary, extended. 3. A review of how Equality Act exemptions are being applied now to ensure women’s needs are met. 4. The government to consult on how self-declaration would impact women. 5. The government to consult on how self-declaration would impact data-gathering and the monitoring of discrimination.

The Hastings meeting will be chaired by Megan Dobney [former Southern and Eastern Regional Secretary for the TUC], and speakers will include transwoman and socialist activist, Kristina Harrison. There will be questions and answers after the main speakers.

This wide-ranging group of gender-critical women and their allies have been debating these issues, which they feel have been glossed over by the government and the main political parties. The women’s right to this debate has faced considerable abusive opposition in some towns, in a manner reminiscent of the reception the suffragettes had in Hastings over a hundred years ago. However, supported by thousands of women, including transsexuals, many trade unionists, politicians from all parties, and journalists, Women’s Place UK are holding firm.

womans place save the date
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, said: “People are free to campaign within the party and publicly, of course they are, and raise these issues and have that discussion.” (Andrew Marr Show, 28 Jan 2018)

David Davies, Conservative MP tweeted: “Don’t usually agree with @HelenMaryCymru but she & other womens rights activists from @Womans_Place_UK should not be prevented from expressing their concerns about forthcoming govt legislation”

Brian Paddick, former Chair of Lib Dems LGBT+ Executive and former Metropolitan Police commander, said: “I’ve only met two representatives from @Womans_Place_UK in a meeting that included 3 trans women & an academic. Nothing said in that meeting made me think they were anti trans rights. Participants didn’t agree on everything but it was cordial. Listening doesn’t hurt or corrupt.”

The Hastings debate, “A Woman’s Place is on the Front Line” will take place on June 20th. Look out for ticket information online, or on leaflets around the town in the week leading up to the event.

Women’s Place UK website.

Posted 15:14 Tuesday, Jun 5, 2018 In: Campaigns

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