In her speech to the Women and Equalities Committee, the Minister indicated an intention to deny trans people a right to self-identification, and delay GRA reform, despite earlier assurances by the Government that it understood the importance of self-identification. (1)

It is not legitimate to encourage the public to think that supporting rights and respect for trans workers will be at the expense of women workers or women’s rights. There are many actions a Women and Equalities Minister could take to tackle sex discrimination and the inequality and barriers women and girls face, which are worsening during Covid-19.

The Gender Recognition Act consultation began in 2017 and was flagged by the Prime Minister at the time as an important step in eradicating homophobic and transphobic bullying. The NEU responded to the consultation in 2018 in support of self-identification because the outdated and stigmatising process must be modernised.

Commenting, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The Government’s own published research found that trans people were less likely to feel safe or comfortable in public spaces, more likely to suffer with discrimination in health services and more likely to experience significant mental health issues including self-harm. The recent Black Lives Matter protests have highlighted the disproportionate risk of violence faced by Black trans people including the tragic fatal attacks on Naomi Hersi, Tony McDade, Dominique Rem’Mie Fells and Riah Milton.

“To put out unclear statements harming a community within our society that already faces discrimination, violence and exclusion is irresponsible and indefensible.

“As the Pride season approaches, we need to bring people together and build up practical approaches to addressing the workplace and health inequalities faced by LGBT+ people before Covid, and which Covid-19 may well compound.

“The NEU has worked with our members to develop well informed and evidence-based policies and advice for both trans students (2) and trans workers (3).”


Editor’s Note

  1. Liz Truss speech, 22 April 2020 (see final four paragraphs). 
  2. NEU Advice on supporting trans and gender questioning students.
  3. NEU Trans educators toolkit.