Home > News > Response to UK Government Minister for Women and Equalities’ speech on trans rights

24 April 2020   |    News

Response to UK Government Minister for Women and Equalities’ speech on trans rights

On Wednesday 22nd April, the UK Government Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, gave a speech to the UK Parliament Women and Equalities Select Committee. In her speech she made the following statement about her views on trans issues:

“The final point I’d like to make, Madam Chairman, in this initial part, is on the issue of the Gender Recognition Act. We’ve been doing a lot of work internally, making sure we’re in a position to respond to that consultation and launch what we propose to do on the future of the Gender Recognition Act. We will be in a position to do that by the summer, and there are three very important principles that I will be putting place.

First of all, the protection of single-sex spaces, which is extremely important.

Secondly making sure that transgender adults are free to live their lives as they wish without fear of persecution, whilst maintaining the proper checks and balances in the system.

Finally, which is not a direct issue concerning the Gender Recognition Act, but is relevant, making sure that the under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future. I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to lead their lives as they see fit, but I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making those irreversible decisions. Of course some of these policies have been delayed, Chair, by the specific issues around Covid but I can assure you that alongside the Covid work, our officials continue to do those things to make them happen.”

For Scotland, Gender Recognition Act reform and access to healthcare are under the control of the Scottish Government rather than the UK Government. We are continuing to press the Scottish Government to uphold their positive commitments to trans equality. The Equality Act 2010 covering single-sex services, however, is controlled by the UK Government across England, Scotland and Wales. We recognise that the Minister’s statements, if implemented as UK Government policy, could represent a reduction of trans people’s rights thinly disguised as progress.

As a result, on Thursday 23rd April, Scottish Trans participated in a series of online meetings with other trans and LGBT equality organisations, human rights lawyers and academics, and the UK Government Equalities Office, to defend against any potential attempt by the UK Government to reduce trans people’s inclusion in single-sex services or to restrict clinicians’ ability to prescribe puberty-delaying medication to trans teenagers. The UK’s equality and human rights organisations, of which we are part, will work closely together to strongly oppose any attempts to reduce existing trans rights anywhere in the UK.

Everyone can help by signing and sharing this online petition: https://bit.ly/352DzRT

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