UK Push for Biological Sex Law Change to End ‘Confusion’

The United Kingdom’s Conservative party has pledged to amend the Equality Act so that a person’s sex is defined by their “biological sex” if they win the upcoming general election.

Addressing Confusion

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This amendment to the Equality Act is meant to address the “confusion” that surrounds the United Kingdom’s female-only spaces and businesses.

Impact on Trans Women

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If this change is made, the largest effect would be against trans women, who would then be banned from accessing single-sex spaces such as toilets, female prisons, and hospital wards.

Regardless of GRC

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The ban would even apply to trans women who obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which has led many LGBTQ+ groups to speak out and fight back against the proposed amendment.

Women’s Safety

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When presenting the amendment and defending its validity, UK’s conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed the decision was made in an attempt to protect women’s safety.

Too Important to Risk

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated, “The safety of women and girls is too important to allow the current confusion around definitions of sex and gender to persist.” 

Building a Secure Future

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PM Sunak went on to say he believes the proposal will “will enhance protections in a way that respects the privacy and dignity of everyone in society” because they are using “an evidence-led approach to this issue so we can continue to build a secure future for everyone across the whole country.”

Support for the Proposal

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Women and Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch supported the proposal due to confusion about current laws relating to sex and the ongoing debate about trans women’s place in sports and prisons.

When to Act

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Defending the proposal, Badenoch said, “It is clear public authorities and regulatory bodies are confused about what the law says on sex and gender and when to act.”

Retaining Trans Protections

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Despite restricting trans women’s access to public space, conservatives say that the amendment would not remove protections against discrimination based on gender reassignment. 

Defending the Reform

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In defense of the reform, conservatives say the amendment would only redefine sex for equality law purposes because GRCs would still align people with their gender in other legal contexts.

Reserved Matter for Gender Recognition

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The proposal will also make gender recognition a reserved matter, which means Westminster would have exclusive governing power over sex and gender law legislation. 

Limiting Smaller Government Bodies

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Effectively, this means that the new amendment would standardize the recognition of sex and gender across the United Kingdom, limiting the powers of smaller government bodies.

Policy Uniformity

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When discussing the proposal, the UK’s conservative party stated, “An individual can only have one sex in the eyes of the law in the United Kingdom.”

The EHRC Response

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In further defense of the policy, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) chair, Baroness Kishwer Falkner, wrote a letter that said, “Defining sex as ‘biological sex’ could bring greater legal clarity in several areas.” 

Transactional Chair

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Helen Belcher, chair of TransActual, condemned the proposal for undermining the human rights of transgender individuals who may be excluded from sex-based protections under the Equality Act.

Excluding Trans People

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Helen said, “By insinuating in its previous advice that organizations should exclude trans people from single-sex services and spaces, and now proposing that parliament actively considers effectively removing trans people from sex-based protections under the Equality Act.”

No Longer People

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Helen concluded her point by saying, “The EHRC continues demonstrating its inability to fight for human rights for everybody,” and “Trans people no longer seem to be people in their eyes. Our pains and struggles are seemingly irrelevant.” 

The Trend

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Last year, the UK government also intervened to stop Scotland from enacting its Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which would have increased the rights of transgender and non-binary individuals.

Wait and See

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While this proposal will undoubtedly have many trans people and concerned allies worried, it will only come into effect if the UK’s conservative party wins the general election this fall.

The post Trans Rights Threat: UK Government Push for Biological Sex Law Change to End ‘Confusion’ first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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