Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Campaign response – Letter from your constituent; Gender Recognition Act

Thank you to constituents who have been writing to me about their concerns regarding the Sunday Times’ report on the draft report of Gender Recognition Act.

No 10 have now clarified that: “The report on the GRA Consultation is not yet finalised and the Prime Minister will have the final say on the recommendations.”

Transgenderism and rights for transgender people are issues of particular sensitivity and it is right that the Government ran an extended public consultation on Gender Recognition Act back in 2018 – I do hope that constituents with strong views on the matter have had a chance to respond to the consultation exercise and make their points directly to the Government:

Personally, I am against any moves to weaken our clear gender identities but I am also aware that there are those who struggle with these issues, who need support and help.

And so I do have my concerns about the possibility making the process of obtaining recognition of gender change progressively easier.

One of the strongest arguments that have been put forward against these measures is that they could bring unintended harm to women by forcing them to share toilets and changing rooms with men who self-identify as women and have not undergone any form of sex reassignment surgery. Predatory men who disguise themselves as cross-dressers and have no claim to identifying as women whatsoever, should not be given any opportunity to take advantage of women through this change in the law.

Furthermore I note that the Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, has recently delivered a speech to the Women and Equalities Select Committee in which she set out her ministerial priorities which would be of interest to you:

“First of all, the protection of single-sex spaces, which is extremely important.

Secondly making sure that transgender adults are free to live their lives as they wish without fear of persecution, whilst maintaining the proper checks and balances in the system.

Finally, which is not a direct issue concerning the Gender Recognition Act, but is relevant, making sure that the under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future. I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to lead their lives as they see fit, but I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making those irreversible decisions. Of course some of these policies have been delayed, Chair, by the specific issues around Covid but I can assure you that alongside the Covid work, our officials continue to do those things to make them happen.”

I was certainly very much encouraged by the sensible and balanced approach the minister has committed to take, which recognises the sensitivity and strength of feeling expressed by all sides in this matter but also the importance of ensuring that people are offered adequate protection.
Constituents can be assured that I will continue to be aware of the importance of this issue to them and closely monitor developments with the Gender Recognition Act going forward.