London FBU LGBT Section position statement on GRA proposals

The London LGBT Section of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) (after member consultation) have agreed the following position statement on proposals to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA).

Statement on behalf of the LGBT London Section

The Gender Recognition Act is in urgent need of review. The government are currently consulting on proposals that would streamline the process for individuals transitioning, making it easier for a person to legally change their sex. These proposals include allowing individuals to ‘self-identify’ as the opposite sex without the need for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria or having to undergo any hormonal treatment, or surgery.

Although we support many of the government’s proposals such as making the transition process simpler and removing many of the stressful and humiliating obstacles that those transitioning face, we are however concerned about the concept of allowing a person to simply ‘self-identify’ as someone of the opposite sex and the possible impact this could have on women only spaces.

Under the Equality Act 2010, sex is a protected characteristic. It is therefore legally important, as a commitment to women’s equality, that the impact of these proposals on the sex protected characteristics is discussed and assessed.

We believe that women (both as individuals and through representative organisation and service providers) must be consulted on any proposed changes to laws which will affect them. Therefore in line with the position of Woman’s Place UK we have 5 demands that must take place before any changes to the Gender Recognition Act regarding ‘self-identity’ are made:

  1. Respectful and evidence based discussion about the impact of the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act to be allowed to take place and for women’s voices and trans voices to be heard;
  2. The principle of women only spaces to be upheld – and where necessary extended.
  3. A review of how the exemptions in the Equality Act which allow for single sex services or requirements that only a woman can apply for a job (such as in a domestic violence refuge) are/will be being applied in practice;
  4. Government to consult with women’s organisations on how self-declaration would impact on women only services and spaces;
  5. Government to consult on how self-declaration will impact upon data gathering – such as crime, employment, pay, and health statistics – and monitoring of sex-based discrimination such as the gender pay gap.