Press release: Gender Reforms “biggest threat to women’s rights in a generation”

Proposed changes in gender laws due tomorrow could pose the biggest threat to women’s legal rights in a generation, campaigners have warned.

A government consultation due on Tuesday could open the way to men being legally recognised as female based solely on their own words, without any medical or legal checks. That could mean the end of single-sex spaces, services and sports.

Fair Play For Women warns that removing the existing checks on changing gender and adopting “self-identification” rules will open the system to abuse. For example, it will be easier for male prisoners to become eligible to live in women’s prisons and probation hostels.

FPFW also urge Ministers to “show leadership” by issuing clear guidance about how the equalities laws that allow for women-only spaces and services can be practically upheld and implemented.

Transgender organisations, including Stonewall, advocate a self-identification system allowing anyone to freely and confidentially alter the sex on their birth certificate and gain access to rights as the opposite sex that are currently protected under Equality Act.

FPFW said that system could be misused and undermine women’s right to spaces without men and services reserved only for biological females.

Women have the legal right to biological female-only spaces, free from males irrespective of which gender they identify as, for reasons of privacy, safety and fairness. Self-ID allows anyone who says they are a woman into women’s spaces, without considering the wider impact on others.

Fair Play for Women says that codifying self-ID of sex into law will mean that the protected characteristic of ‘sex’ will effectively change to ‘gender identity’ meaning biological females will lose their existing legal protections.
This could signal the end of single-sex spaces for women and would be the biggest roll back of sex-based rights for a generation.

Nicola Williams, spokeswoman for Fair Play For Women said:

“If anyone can legally become a woman just by saying so, the word “woman” becomes meaningless and laws put in place to protect women and women-only spaces are made pointless. Unless women speak up and ministers listen, we are facing the biggest setback for women’s rights in a generation.”

Despite lobbying from groups like Stonewall, Ministers have said they will not change the Equality Act, which allows for women-only services, spaces and sporting contests.

But FPFW said the Government needs to go further and ensure that the Equality Act can actually be used to provide those services.

Many service providers are abandoning women-only spaces and services and adopting “gender-neutral” facilities after being advised by lobbying organisations such as Stonewall that providing services only for biological women is legally risky.

In fact, the Equality Act clearly allows such single-sex services. Stonewall, at the same time as advising many organisations on how to implement the Equality Act, has been lobbying Government to get rid of the Equality Act provisions allowing single-sex exemptions.

Nicola Williams, spokeswoman for Fair Play For Women said:

“Parliament has passed laws allowing for single-sex spaces and services for women and it’s good that the Government has rejected lobbying to get rid of those laws. Now politicians need to uphold the laws they passed by giving service providers a clear message that they can use the law to maintain women-only services and spaces.”


Notes for Editors:
Fair Play For Women is a grassroots campaign group of ordinary women who are concerned that in the rush to reform gender laws that women’s voices will not be heard. Fair Play aims to bring clarity and to enable a rational, evidence-led debate to be had. We are a reliable and authoritative information source on all the key topics in the debate.

Nicola Williams is available for interview and comment

Contact [email protected]

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