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Leeds Uni and Transphobia


You may have already heard about how trans rights at the University of Leeds have been called into question, but there are a few things that you might not be aware of.

(If you haven't, you can read more here)

"The University has refused to update its incidentally transphobic IT systems after multiple complaints made by trans people, whose personal details have been illegally leaked to anyone with access to their database. Management were made aware of this issue more than five years ago."


Breaching the Data Protection Act:

By refusing to update IT systems, the University is knowingly breaching several instances of Article 24 of the Data Protection Act.

For example, this article requires the University to take "into account the nature, scope, context and purposes of processing as well as the risks of varying likelihood and severity for the rights and freedoms of natural persons*, the controller shall implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure and to be able to demonstrate that processing is performed in accordance with this Regulation." (source)

*Recital 75 states that, "the risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, of varying likelihood and severity, may result from personal data processing which could lead to physical, material or non-material damage, in particular: where the processing may give rise to discrimination, identity theft or fraud, financial loss, damage to the reputation, loss of confidentiality of personal data protected by professional secrecy, unauthorised reversal of pseudonymisation, or any other significant economic or social disadvantage." (source)

In other words, by leaking personal data, the University is putting transgender staff and students at risk of discrimination, damage to reputation, and leaking confidential information, which breaches the regulation of the above article.


Asking for Gender Recognition Certificates:

(Which is, again, a breach of privacy and an act of discrimination)

UK gender recognition practices, as of March 2022, require an individual to be over 18 and to have 'lived' (both professionally and personally) as the 'opposite gender' for at least two years. (source)

This means that: If a student at the University was under 18 at the time of applying for study, they may (allegedly, ahem) be required to present a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to change their gender marker on the system.

As the attainment of a GRC requires the University's acceptance, the University of Leeds may (allegedly, ahem ahem) take away a person's ability to attain a GRC.

Of course, it is well known that within many areas of the UK, waiting lists for even an appointment in the process of a GRC can take up to 7 years (and counting).

Any students or staff at the University of Leeds that have been asked to present a Gender Recognition Certificate can get in touch with the website editors, talk to Leeds University LGBTQIA+ Society, or Leeds University LGBT Staff Network.



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