Dear Rebecca Hilsenrath…
As the CEO of the Equality and Human Rights Commission you said in a corporate tweet yesterday said that the best way forward in the debate over trans rights and women’s rights is for “both sides to improve the level of discourse”.
You said “We need clear conversations and proper debate about what the law and policy actually mean in practice, and what would be the practical effect of any changes — dialogue must be constructive, tolerant and based on the facts.”
Your tweet got a lot of response, mainly from women pointing out the contributions to constructive, tolerant, fact based discourse that have been largely ignored by the equality establishment. EHRC’s own transgender reading list makes clear they only listen to one side of this debate; with a full third of all papers authored or co-authored by just three authors: Sally Hines, Stephen Whittle or James Morton
Your job is to protect fairness, dignity and human rights of all. So here are some suggestions to add to your reading list, for you and your colleagues:
Sex and the Equality Act 2010
Sex and the Equality Act — by Julius Komorowski, published in the Scottish Law Journal (Jan 2020)
Legally this is not trans rights issue its a sex rights issue — by Audrey Ludwig, published by Woman’s Place UK (July 2020)
Does the law say trans women are women? by Naomi Cunningham, published by legalfeminist.org.uk (July 2020)
Single sex services
Losing sight of women’s rights: the unregulated introduction of gender self-identification as a case study of policy capture by Kath Murray, Lucy Hunter Blackburn and Lisa MacKenzie, published in Scottish Affairs (July 2019)
My body, my choice: privacy, consent and compulsion in personal care by Naomi Cunningham, published by legalfeminist.org.uk (July 2020)
Single sex services & the Equality Act: A new statutory Code of Practice must help everyone get clear what “single sex” means by Maya Forstater, published by Fair Play for Women (August 2019)
Are the Equality Act 2010 and CEDAW working for the women’s voluntary & community sector in England? by Dr Louise Harvey-Golding and Dr Sue Robson, Published by the Women’s Resource Centre (December 2019)
Lesbians at ground zero: how transgenderism is conquering the lesbian body by Angela C. Wild (March 2019)
Gender Self Identification in Scotland: discussion paper, Women and Girls Scotland (2019)
Long, Slow, Demeaning, Intrusive and Distressing or Swift, Professional and Respectful? Evidence from the Gender Reassignment Panel by Maya Forstater, Submitted to the Scottish Government consultation on gender recontion reform (February 2020)
Impact of Gender Recognition on Sex Based Rights — by Rebecca Bull, published by MurrayBlackburnMacKenzie (February 2020)
Gender Self-Declaration and Women’s Rights: How Self Identification Undermines Women’s Rights and Will Lead to an Increase in Harms by Rebecca Bull and Alesandra Asteriti, published in Modern Law Review (August 2020)
Schools and young people
Equality Law and Statutory Schools Guidance by Transgender Trend (2020)
Children’s Rights Impact Assessment: Allsorts Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit by Transgender Trend (2020)
Transgender Women in The Female Category of Sport: Is the Male Performance Advantage Removed by Testosterone Suppression? by Emma Hilton and Tommy Lundberg, Academic preprint (May 2020)
The Transition from Sex to Gender in English Prisons: Human Rights and Queer Theory, by Michael Biggs, Academic preprint (May 2020)
The (mainly) women who have written these studies and papers have done so with no external funding, recognition or support and in the face of insults and smears, threats of violence and threats to their livelihoods. They remain remarkably tolerant, open and committed to the human rights of all.
If you want to hear constructive, tolerant fact based discourse listen and watch the videos from the meetings of Woman’s Place UK and read about the difficulties and attacks they have faced since they began organising public meetings on this since 2017. This is what they say:
We think the role of facilitating this debate is the responsibility of all but particularly of those organisations taking funding from government to promote equality and build understanding between groups. The failure of organisations who have these responsibilities to promote a respectful debate is fuelling an extremely worrying intolerant environment.
I hope the EHRC will take your advice and include resources from both sides in its reading list, and improve its discourse to consider how women’s rights are impacted by the conflation of sex and gender identity.