I was pleasantly surprised to read a report of the refusal of the application for a judicial review of the Equality Act 2010 in relation to the definition of single sex spaces. That in itself was pleasing, what was even better was that the Judge Mr Justice Henshaw said that the applicants case “was unarguable” and that the interpretation of the Equality Act 2010 which the LGB Alliance were putting forward was “wrong in law”.
The LGB Alliance had argued that any women’s single sex space automatically becomes a mixed sex space if a trans woman enters it. It had been proposed that any trans woman whether with or without legal gender recognition should be excluded for women’s single sex spaces. The Q.C representing the LGB Alliance argued that the EHRC’s guidance put women at risk because “trans women are men”. That old chestnut biological sex is immutable again.
Thank goodness the Judge made it clear that trans men and women can already be excluded quite properly from single sex services on a case by case basis through existing exemptions in the Equality Act 2010 if it was “a proportionate way of achieving a legitimate aim”.
The judge stated that women were protected under the Equality Act by the protected characteristic of sex and that trans people were protected under the Equality Act by the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. So both groups were protected under the Act and that there were mechanisms in place were any situation was needed to deal with any conflict in a specific situation.
I would like to think this was a turning point. I doubt it and will not hold my breath. The LGB Alliance has been given charitable status and funded this case to the tune of £100K by crowdfunding. I am sure this will not be the end of their challenges. However, it was a pleasant surprise to read that their case was “unarguable”.