Written evidence submitted by Jessica R [GRA1795]

 

 

 

Submission of evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee

 

The Government’s response to the GRA consultation

 

I am writing as a parent, concerned about the impact of ideas about gender on children, safeguarding, women’s rights and free speech.

 

Summary:

 

 

Should the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria be removed?

 

No. This would simply be to embed gender ideology and thus ‘self-ID’ – which relies on sex stereotypes – into law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In summary, there are huge dangers in a government validating via an official position that ‘gender’ is inherent (and biological sex is imaginary or just an ‘idea’). This would be the impact of removing the requirement for the GD diagnosis. It will influence how clinicians assess children who declare themselves to be the opposite sex. It is likely to further encourage clinicians to take an affirmatory approach to a troubled child as ‘trans’ rather than exploring the underlying causes of their difficulties – which may often lie in learning difficulties, the family system or a psychological response to bullying and abuse. The Committee needs to have an explicit debate about whether it really wants to validate or put to rest the implied idea of gender identity. It must weigh up the harms of this.

 

Should there be changes to the requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years?

 

The idea of ‘living in your gender’ is absurd since it is not, and cannot be, defined. The recent case of Freddy McConnell, a transman with a GRC who then got pregnant and gave birth, and was rebuffed at court to win the right to name himself on the baby’s birth certificate as a father, indicates the indeterminacy of the GRA and the ways it can be exploited. Should his GRC be repealed, because clearly this is in bad faith? How do I show I ‘live in my acquired gender’? Does a man need to wear dresses permanently ‘to be’ a woman? It’s obvious women don’t in fact wear dresses permanently or at all, so it would make as much sense to claim they are ‘men’ when they wear trousers. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-52471697

 

 

Does the spousal consent provision in the Act need reforming? If so, how? If it needs reforming or removal, is anything else needed to protect any rights of the spouse or civil partner?

 

 

As this author says, “Why should history be rewritten to say that I married a woman? It would be legal conversion of my sexuality”. [See https://uncommongroundmedia.com/spousal-exit-clause/]

 

 

The same principle should obviously apply where the ‘transitioning’ partner is female, or where the marriage or civil partnership is same-sex and one partner transitions, such that a homosexual marriage is turned into a heterosexual one.

 

 

 

 

Should the age limit at which people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) be lowered?

 

On the contrary, I think it should be raised to 25 which is when adolescent brains have completed development. This is a life-changing decision with huge consequences from which there is no return.

 

There is now much evidence that the developmental period from puberty onwards is not the time for children to make final decisions about sexual orientation. Many lesbians only ‘come out’ in their early-mid 20s. It is increasingly hard for young people to come to terms with their homosexuality – and they often find their route to their sexuality after a long period wrestling with their difficulty complying with sex stereotypes. Identifying their own natural sexual orientation (in the same way that heterosexuals do but perhaps without noticing) is hindered when they cannot recognise gays and lesbians as existing. Same-sex orientation is obscured by the ever-growing panoply ofgender identities (e.g. non-binary, gender fluid, queer, pansexual) in everyday discourse. Diva, a best-selling lesbian magazine, celebrates transgender women – aka malelesbians.

 

Gender is a confused and ill-defined concept both in law and in young people’s minds. In the last 5 years, in school sex education and on social media – via ‘influencers’ with millions of followers – these ‘gender concepts’ have replaced an understanding of innate orientation categories: heterosexual, homosexuality and bisexuality, which are defined and protected in law as the sex of the subject and the sex (or sexes) to which the subject is attracted. It has a harmful impact on young people because ‘feminine’ boys and ‘masculine’ girls are being encouraged to think there is something wrong with them and that maybe they are members of the opposite sex. This is an entirely new socially spread idea that I believe is fundamentally egregious and socially regressive for the following reasons:

Gender, which is quite different from sex, is a subjective sense of self: individual ways of thinking about oneself and the presentation of one’s own personality. I submit that it cannot be objectively measured because it is a personal belief, the same as a belief in star signs. There is no scientific, social scientific or psychological proof that people ‘have’ a gender identity but the belief may be expressed by clothes worn, hairstyles, choice of pronouns and activities. And there is no way of defining gender without referring to sex stereotypes.

 

 

The Committee might like to note that ‘gender identity’ is a concept that arose first in psychiatric history, in the 1960s, when psychologist and ‘sexologist’ Prof. John Money decided to prove his theory of innate ‘gender identity’ by disastrous experiments on a boy who he facilitated bringing up as a girl. Yet being brought up as a girl’ meant nothing other than sex stereotypes: the selection of certain clothing, hair, toys that society codes as ‘feminine’ and associated behavioural characteristics attributed to girls. This is why ‘gender’ is best understood for the purposes of law and public policy as a sociological (not a psychological) concept that we use to analyse the social conduct, behaviour and expectations of the sexes that are historically and culturally variable.

 

A GRC permits the holder to change the recorded sex on their birth certificate. If those under 18 can access this, it is likely to mean that the natural experimentations of youth are more likely to turn into serious and irreversible decisions. It is a high risk and entirely unnecessary step. It holds out the pretence that ‘changing sex’ is normal and natural for young people. It will further facilitate and encourage the idea that embarking on puberty blocking hormonal treatment, which in the vast majority of cases leads to cross sex hormones and therefore infertility and sexual dysfunction, is a natural resolution to underlying causes that were never properly psychologically examined with the help of professionals.

 

What else should the Government have included in its proposals, if anything?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does the Scottish Government’s proposed Bill offer a more suitable alternative to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004?

 

No. The Scottish Government's proposals call for gender self-ID.

 

Wider issues concerning transgender equality and current legislation

 

Why is the number of people applying for GRCs so low compared to the number of people identifying as transgender?

 

There is a dissonance between those who are absolutely committed to a ‘gender’ and wish to remain in it, who are a small minority, and a larger group of younger people who are using ideas of gender manipulation and the language of ‘trans’ to explore their identities. Young people have always done this Younger people inevitably experiment with their ‘identities’ and are likely to be labile, susceptible to cultural and peer group influences. They mature via absorbing social media trends such as on TikTok and YouTube but are not sufficiently aware of the commercial drive ‘selling’ these formulaic identities. We have no idea how many people “identify” as transgender or any other ‘identity’. It is important to note that there is no accepted definition of ‘transgender’.

 

Are there challenges in the way the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010 interact? For example, in terms of the different language and terminology used across both pieces of legislation.

 

 

In addition, the GRA does not define “gender” so I would like to ask the Committee how it is possible to “recognise” something that is not defined. I believe these fault lines mean the GRA is fundamentally a messy piece of legislation that needs thorough review.

 

An obvious change, to create the clarity that does not exist at present, would be to restrict the definition of “gender reassignment” in EA2010 to those who have a GRC.

 

 

 

Clearly the solution is for the WEC, bearing in mind the rights of ‘gender reassigned’ people, to develop policy to provide distinct public facilities and services for them, such as ‘sex neutral’ toilets. But these must be in addition to sex-based provision There are already some great examples of this – see Victoria Railway Station public toilets which has clear signage for all protected groups.

 

 

 

 

Are the provisions in the Equality Act for the provision of single-sex and separate-sex spaces and facilities in some circumstances clear and useable for service providers and service users? If not, is reform or further guidance needed?

 

The assessment process required to comply with the EQ2010 in respect of sex and “gender reassignment” is not well understood. and its implementation is mired in confusion for most people, including assessors. The EQ clearly says single-sex protections are legal because discrimination in favour of sex versus “gender reassignment” is a “proportional means to achieve a legitimate aim”.

 

Image

 

 

‘Sex’ ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’ are categorically different things and must not be conflated. These days, because there is some squeamishness about the word ‘sex’ (despite it being a legal concept), gender is used as a proxy. This is highly problematic because of the conflation between the personal use of gender to mean ‘the sex I identify with or assert I am’ (as in gender ideology, above) and the objective, biological concept of sex. The latter does not require any ‘identification’ as everyone is innately either male or female.

 

The confusion is allowing data collection to be skewed. Here are some examples:

 

We urgently need clear guidance to service providers of the single-sex exemptions (which are not to be implied as rare, nor rationed) for toilets, changing rooms, hospitals, prisons, sports, occupational requirements for staff in rape refuges, and positive discrimination re. all-women shortlists, and many other single-sex settings and services.

 

November 2020