(What a shocker.)
Yesterday, the 26th of January 2022, the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) publicly shared their statement on amending 2004's Gender Recognition Act.
The EHRC do not recognise the right of trans people to change their legal sex without having to undergo strenuous, and all-too-often traumatising processes. In a word, this means that the EHRC require trans people to prove their gender by willingly suffering for no good reason.
In response, LGBTQIA+ charities and organisations have shamed the EHRC. Manchester LGBT+ Foundation has refused to relate to the EHRC moving forward, and Pride Cymru has stated that:
"We are troubled that the EHRC is no longer fit for purpose."
Stonewall responded to the EHRC's statement saying:
"Today’s statements from the EHRC are an attack on trans equality and undermine EHRC’s core purpose of regulating, promoting and upholding human rights."
Their statement shows little regard for the imbalance of suffering in this debate on human rights: they state that the debate, for example, "is causing much distress to people on all sides," as if the distress this deals to trans people and trans allies is of as much concern to feminism-appropriating transphobes (FARTs). It should go without saying, that any attack on our already limited rights will only produce more suffering for trans people.
However, there is no evidence to prove that the freedom of trans people limits the freedom of transphobes (unless that freedom includes not being able to harm fellow human beings, then yes - trans rights does indeed limit the freedom of the sadistic transphobe).
The EHRC notes the "increasingly expressed concerns" of lawyers, academics, and data users over the "current criteria for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)," and yet - they make no note of the concerns of trans people in this debate - highlighting that the concerns these unspecified 'lawyers, academics, and data users' have include:
Trans peoples' ability to change their legal sex.
Trans peoples' participation in sport, misogyny, and "practices within the criminal justice system."
It should go without saying that the participation of trans people in sport should not impact the decision to ease our suffering, nor should our participation be discouraged merely because current classifications fail to meet their purpose.
Further, the idea that the very existence of trans people oppresses women is, of course, the FARTs' motto - the freedom to express yourself through gender is after all the basis of feminist thought, and to strip people of their ability to pursue hormone therapy (after all, it is a great treatment for many maladies), or for anyone to wear skirts and make-up, objectifies the idea of the 'woman' and contributes to the elevation of misogyny.
The EHRC expresses support for trans people who fall into neatly categorised boxes: for example, they state the requirement for experiencing gender dysphoria and living as 'the opposite sex' for the attainment of a GRC. They also use outdated or offensive terminologies such as 'acquired gender', as if a trans person 'acquires' a new gender on top of their assigned one.
The EHRC leaves the statement on the bombshell that:
"We otherwise consider that the established legal concept of sex, together with the existing protections from gender reassignment discrimination for trans people and the ability for them to obtain legal recognition of their gender, collectively provide the correct balanced legal framework that protects everyone."
Which very frankly states their contentment with the state of trans rights as they are right now, wholeheartedly defeating the purpose of their paragraphs on their 'understanding' of trans suffering under the current regime.
For ease of access, I've copied and pasted their statement here. I've also put concerning areas in bold. You can also access their statement via twitter.
"Dear Cabinet Secretary,
Following our meeting on 21 January, I am writing as promised with our position on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
Like you, we are concerned at the polarised debate on this issue. It is causing much distress to people on all sides. We want to work with you and other interested parties to support a careful and respectful discussion of potential changes to the law.
As you know, some lawyers, academics, data users and others have increasingly expressed concerns about the potential implications of changing the current criteria for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).
These concerns centre on the potential consequences for individuals and society of extending the ability to change legal sex from a small defined group, who have demonstrated their commitment and ability to live in their acquired gender, to a wider group who identify as the opposite gender at a given point. The potential consequences include those relating to the collection and use of data, participation and drug testing in competitive sport, measures to address barriers facing women, and practices within the criminal justice system, inter alia.
As such, we consider that more detailed consideration is needed before any change is made to the provisions in the Act.
We recognise that many trans people have criticised the current process to obtain a GRC as being intrusive, medically-based, bureaucratic, expensive and lengthy. We welcomed the UK Government’s reduction of the fee for obtaining a GRC and commitment to digitalize the process, which we encourage them to deliver at speed.
We are also concerned about the unacceptably long waiting times for gender identity services – in some cases over five years for an initial appointment. We strongly welcome your commitment to improve gender identity services in Scotland so that individuals with gender dysphoria can obtain the support and treatment they need and begin the process of gaining legal recognition of their acquired gender. We continue to press the UK government to progress improvements.
As we work to promote and uphold equality and human rights law, we will continue to call for urgent improvements to gender identity services throughout Britain.
We otherwise consider that the established legal concept of sex, together with the existing protections from gender reassignment discrimination for trans people and the ability for them to obtain legal recognition of their gender, collectively provide the correct balanced legal framework that protects everyone. This includes protecting trans people from discrimination and harassment, and safeguarding their human rights. Our focus is on continuing to seek opportunities to use our powers to support litigation to protect trans people’s rights.
We will write to you shortly to update you on our forthcoming guidance for single-sex service providers.
We look forward to working with you and others in Scotland to take forward these important issues."