From not wanting to be political, it seems I feel I need to go there again.
The Government for some time has been consulting over the reform of the Gender Recognition Act for both England and Wales as well as Scotland. The consultations were overwhelmingly in favour of reform. The proposed reforms also formed part of the government manifesto when they gained a substantial majority at the last general election. However, in England and Wales apart from tinkering around the edges reducing the fees the proposals have been pushed away into the long grass. The proposed reforms are still on course in Scotland where the First Minister regularly confirms that the necessary legislation is on course despite a very vocal Gender Critical minority trying to derail the reform.
The government has also been consulting on the issue of banning Conversion therapy in England and Wales. Again the response to the consultation was overwhelmingly in favour of a ban.
The EHRC responded to both sets of consultations supporting the proposed changes. In the last week the EHRC has issued two statements substantially changing their position. In relation to the ban on conversion therapy in which the proposed legislation was designed to protect LGBT+ s, the EHRC have now proposed that that Trans people should not have the same protection against conversion therapy as LGB people. Their second statement has recommended that the proposed legislation in Scotland on the Gender Reform Act should be delayed to allow more time for consultation. There have already been two consultations and the process has taken years several years longer than is normally the case.
So why are there yet more delays and a need for further consultation? The answer appears to be with the government again and their involvement, encouragement of Woke Wars. The government have recently appointed new members to the Commission and to the Chair of the Commission who sympathise with the gender critical minority.
The EHRC is supposed to be a statutory body set up to enforce the Equality Act 2010 and in so doing to protect the nine protected characteristics which include sexual orientation and gender reassignment. Quietly the EHRC has also amended wording in their documentation changing “gender” to “sex” in support of their gender critical views and supporting sex based rights.
Stonewall issued a statement condemning the two recent statements the EHRC had issued. Their statement goes so far as to say:-
The EHRC is a UN accredited National Human Rights Institution and as such is expected to operate according to the Paris Principles which include the commitment to promote and protect all human rights and to contribute to a world where everyone, everywhere fully enjoys human rights. We believe (the EHRC’s ) statements violate these principles.
They gone on to call for a review of EHRC to ensure that trans peoples rights are effectively supported by the institution.
As well as Stonewall, the LGBT Foundation issued a statement in which is included “These statements are extremely damaging and cannot be supported in any circumstances”.
To add to the mix the Council of Europe has named the UK as a place of concern in relation to growth of highly prejudicial gender critical and anti-trans narratives…..to what these movements deliberately mischaracterise as “gender ideology”. This same narrative appears to be the one being followed by the EHRC with the support of the government by the appointments they are making. The UK no longer appears on the list of safe countries for transgender people.
It seems to me that the EHRC should be constituted in a way that it is wholly independent of Government and be enabled to carry out its function of supporting and promoting all human rights without government bias and interference.