Male-free spaces exist for a reason.
It is common sense, but also proven fact, that when males are allowed access to spaces where women are asleep or undressed, some males will abuse this and women’s privacy and safety will be undermined.
More and more organisations in the UK and abroad are implementing ‘self-identification’ policies that enable males to self-identify as women and enter women-only spaces.
Although the specific details of law vary from country to country they all have one thing in common: they increase the likelihood of finding a male-bodied person in a space reserved for women. In the UK many organisations, such as Girl Guiding, YMCA, Caledonian sleeper trains, hospital wards have already chosen to implement ‘self-ID’ policies.
The UK government is consulting on how to change the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for transgender people to swap the sex written on their birth certificate. These changes will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of organisations abandoning single-sex policies in favour of self-ID. For more details on why, read our consultation guide HERE.
At Fair Play For Women, we are concerned that the loss of male-free spaces will put women at risk. Letting men self-ID as women, by any law that allows or encourages it, is bad for women. Here is just a handful of the many real life examples of how basic privacy for women has already been undermined and how women have already been abused.
Jessica Hambrook, Ontario, Canada (2014)
Christopher Hambrook — who claimed to be a transgender woman named Jessica — has attacked two vulnerable females while living in a women’s shelter.
Hambrook, 37, pleaded guilty in February 2013 to two counts of sexual assault and one count of criminal harassment involving two women — a deaf and homeless Quebec woman and a Toronto survivor of domestic violence — while he was living at a Dundas St. W. shelter and the Fred Victor women’s shelter in January and February 2012.
One of the victims awoke to discover Hambrook standing behind her in his underwear, attempting to sexually assault her. His DNA was found on her nightwear.
Karen White, Leeds, UK (2018)
A convicted paedophile has been convicted of sexually assaulting two female prisoners while living in New Hall women’s prison. Karen White, formerly Stephen Wood, a fully-intact male who self-identifies as a woman, was sent to a women’s prison while on remand awaiting trial for raping a woman. Within days of arriving he committed the sexual assaults. He has since been found guilty of the rape for which he was remanded, as well as a further two historical rapes.
UK prison rules allow male prisoners who self-identify as female to request transfer to a female prison and permission is granted at the discretion of a Transgender Case Board. In this case a safety risk assessment wrongly concluded it would be safe to allow an accused rapist access to female prisoners. This is one of several instances where dangerous sex offenders have been transferred into the female estate.
Toronto, Canada (2014)
A 70 year old woman reported how she was undressing in a YWCA changing room while being watched by a naked male with an erection. After thousands of complaints the YWCA has changed its policy back to single-sex, and now provides transgender people with separate changing facilities.
“I am a senior woman. Recently, a man claiming to be transgender, who had not yet begun physical treatments, was permitted by our local YWCA to use the women’s locker room. There are no secure change rooms. The person they allowed in was not courteous and stared at me while I struggled out of a wet bathing suit. He was naked, had an erection and playfully asked ‘do you come here often?’ I understand that gender is no longer judged solely by genitalia, but does a brief contact with the duty manager mean that men not yet committed to gender reassignment are free to disrobe anywhere they choose?”
Colleen Francis, Washington US (2012)
A transgendered man permitted to use the women’s locker rooms at a Washington college has created uproar among parents who say their children have been repeatedly subjected to him exposing his genitals to them.
Colleen Francis, a 45-year-old student at Olympia’s Evergreen College who identifies as a woman but has male genitalia, says she has a right to use the facilities and the school agrees.
Evergreen Spokesman said “The college cannot discriminate based on the basis of gender identity. Gender identity is one of the protected things in discrimination law in this state.’
Terrified patient treated like ‘transphobic bigot’ in hospital, UK (2018)
A mother with a fear of men has described her terror when she was locked in an NHS women’s psychiatric ward with a burly transgender patient who was about 6ft tall and “extremely male-bodied”.
Philippa Molloy, 42, said she was “genuinely absolutely terrified” because she had suffered a relapse in her bipolar disorder that made her irrationally convinced that men were conspiring to kill her.
When she raised her concerns with hospital staff, however, she said she was not taken seriously and her medical notes implied that she was a “transphobic bigot”.
Dane legally becomes a woman, then enters women’s locker room (2015).
Ibi-Pippi has changed legal sex to female and now uses the communal women’s changing rooms at a local swimming pool. He has made no changes to his appearance, and says he does not need to make any changes to his body. This highlights how self-identification policies require no actual steps towards a ‘transition’. To “feel female” is enough. It is a common misconception that transgender people must make changes to their appearance or body. In fact full genital surgery is extremely rare.
Women lose their right to privacy and dignity when undressing in places where males can be present. However, their safety is also at risk. 90% of all sexual incidents reported in UK changing rooms happen in unisex facilities, with very few happening in single-sex spaces.
What about fairness for women?
Its not just women’s safety and privacy that’s at stake, but also fairness. Self-identification policies mean that males who self-identify as women have gained access to schemes set up to tackle under-representation of females in politics. Teenage males who identity as girls are also racing against girls and beating them in sports.
The UK Labour party has allowed male-born people who self-identify as women onto all women election shortlists and mentoring programs to help women enter politics, and have allowed a male to become women’s officer for Rochester and Strood, despite the post being reserved for females.
In the USA, two male teenagers who identify as girls competed in a female track team at a state high school in Connecticut.
Hannah Mouncey, a male who identifies as a woman was allowed to compete in the Australian Football League in a women’s team and broke a woman’s leg during play. New rules have since been enforced, involving eligibility based on hormone levels, weight and height. Mouncey is considering a legal challenge.
‘Gender identity’ is personal and subjective and is not the same as someone’s biological sex. The two should not be conflated when considering privacy, safety and fairness for women. If they are, and self-identification policies become the norm, it means the examples presented in this article will become commonplace. This is neither viable nor fair.
If you think sex-self ID is a bad idea fill in the UK government consultation and have your say.