Trans people won’t get legal access to public single-sex spaces, ministers pledge
Despite warnings from rights campaigners that single-sex facilities, such as toilets and changing rooms, discriminate against the transgender community, the government said it has “no intention” to make female- and male-only services accessible to transgender people.
“We are clear we have no intention of amending the Equality Act 2010, the legislation that allows for single-sex spaces,” a government statement said on Sunday.
The announcement follows growing pressure from feminists to guarantee the protection of women as the government pushes through the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which will allow for trans people to legally alter their gender.
It comes after woman complained about having a man self-identifying as a female carrying out her cervical smear test. Women also complained about trans swimming in female-only pools.
In response to a 12,000-strong petition calling for women to be consulted before any change to the Act is passed, the Government Equalities Office said: “We are clear that we have no intention of amending the Equality Act 2010, the legislation that allows for single-sex spaces.
“Any GRA reform will not change the protected characteristics in the Equality Act nor the exceptions under the Equality Act that allow provision for single and separate sex spaces.”
It added: “Providers of women-only services can continue to provide services in a different way, or even not provide services to trans individuals, provided it is objectively justified on a case-by-case basis.
“The same can be said about toilets, changing rooms or single-sex activities. Providers may exclude trans people from facilities of the sex they identify with, providing it is a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim.”
Gay and trans rights group Stonewall said: “Trans people are subject to appalling levels of abuse in daily life and dehumanised by the way the current debate questions their very right to exist.
“This is unacceptable in Britain in 2018 and it demonstrates just why the Gender Recognition Act needs urgent reform.”
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