On the 22nd April Liz Truss, Minister for Women and Equalities, stated at a meeting of the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee:
“The final point I’d like to make, Madam Chairman, in this initial part, is on the issue of the Gender Recognition Act. We’ve been doing a lot of work internally, making sure we’re in a position to respond to that consultation and launch what we propose to do on the future of the Gender Recognition Act. We will be in a position to do that by the summer, and there are three very important principles that I will be putting place.
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.”
The Beaumont Society would like clarification on the Minister’s statement:
- What exactly does the Minister mean when she refers to “single sex” spaces? Is there a widely accepted understanding as to the spaces to which she is referring? We would be happy if these “single-sex” spaces were to include trans people in their acquired gender. E.g. trans-women in women-only wards in hospitals; trans women who have suffered domestic violence being accepted in Women’s Refuges; trans women who have been raped being accepted into Women’s Rape Crisis Centres. The Minister states that continued protection is extremely important, but fails to clarify exactly what she means by this.
- What are the “proper checks and balances” she refers to? Could she be more specific so that we can be reassured that the hard-won rights of trans people will continue to be upheld, and can she reassure us that the prejudices of some vociferous minorities will be resisted?
- Young trans people need to be able to access advice and support from suitably qualified and experienced professionals and, if deemed appropriate on a case-by-case basis, access to puberty-blocking medication. Decision makers must take into account the high rate of self-harm among teenagers forced to wait years for treatment.