Safe Spaces revisited

I continue to be concerned about the issues that are constantly in the media over safe spaces.

I have been looking at the history of trans rights. The first legislation of which I am aware is the Sex Discrimination Act 1971 which made it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of anatomical sex in employment education and in relation to the provision of housing goods facilities and services. This was further extended by the Sexual Discrimination Gender Reassignment Regulations 1999 making it illegal to discriminate  against anyone on the basis of gender reassignment. However, this was only in relation to employment or vocational training. Although there have been trans people for centuries from what I can see in so far as legal rights were concerned in the UK. Before the Gender Recognition Act  2004 Transgender people could only have identity documents amended informally. The Gender Recognition Act came into force in 2004 following a decision by the European Court of Human Rights in 2002. Following the Gender Recognition Act transgender people could apply to change their Legal Gender for birth certificates for passports and all other identity documents.

However these did not formalise the protection of Transgender people from harassment and although there has been anti-discrimination protections through the 2000s transgender rights were not a protected characteristic until it was added to the Equality Act of 2010 in 2013.  This law provides protection for transsexual people at work, in education, as a consumer, when using public services, when buying or renting property, or as a member or guest of a private club or association. Protection against discrimination by association with a transsexual person is also included.

The definition of gender reassignment as a protected characteristic is defined as A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is “proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex”.  From this it is clear that this includes trans gender people who do not intend to have Gender Confirmation Surgery or have not yet undergone such Surgery. This is clearly at odds with eth current concern over male genitalia being hyped by the anti-trans lobbies in the current climate. Furthermore, the Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination against people with the protected characteristic of gender reassignment in the provision of separate and single-sex services. Organisations that provide separate or single‑sex services for women and men, or provide different services to women and men, are required to treat transgender people according to how they present. So trans gender people are already legally allowed to use single sex spaces and have been perfectly legally for seven years. An exception already exists that which service providers can use in exceptional circumstances. The exceptional circumstances exemption is only to be applied on a case  by case situation and not to be used as a blanket get out policy. Exceptional circumstances do not include going to the loo.

It seems to me the present protections are sufficient and the current proposals will only roll back rights presently enjoyed. The issue seems to be largely around self-identification and that the transphobes fear will lead to predatory men dressing to use single sex safe spaces. These seems to me to be just fear mongering by sections of the media aimed at whipping up anti-trans feelings. This anti trans bias is also evident in the BBC News which has been called out the by senior MPs and LGBTQ+ activists for being “institutionally transphobic” saying that it seems clear that the BBC is dealing with trans issues in a way it should never contemplate dealing with issues relating to any protected characteristic under the Equality Act and in particular refers to the unbalanced bias given to the anti-trans lobby when dealing with the JK Rowling article mentioned in my last post.

I can only hope that enough opposition is being put forward to make the government reconsider. It is a question of signing petitions (see Change.org), writing to your MPs asking them to support Trans rights and vote against any changes…….it is a question of watch this space.

I finish with a quote I saw on Twitter today which seem pertinent to the day to day reality:-

“I don’t know why people fret about bathrooms and changing rooms predatory men don’t need to pose as trans women, they have access to women in every other space”.  Miss Demon Kitty

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