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To ask you to write to St Mungos and Women's Aid about this

(53 Posts)
ByGrabtharsHammarWhatASavings Sun 07-Apr-19 13:20:20

I understand that a lot of people would rather these discussions stay off the main boards. I also appreciate that publications like the daily mail are easily dismissed as goady and sensationalist. But I would urge everyone to just read this article and decide for yourselves if you think it's acceptable. For those who don't want to click on a daily mail link I'll post the relevant bits here:

" a transgender ex-prisoner and convicted domestic abuser, who made chilling death threats to the mother of his child, has been allowed to come and go from a female-only refuge after he changed his name to Melissa. (...) St Mungo's, which operates 27 sites across London and the South of England, allowed Addis to gain 'almost daily' access to a women-only hostel in East London despite knowing about her criminal past."

"Another charity, Women's Aid, which oversees 300 shelters managed by smaller charities, also said its policy is to allow transgender women to live at the refuges, regardless of whether they have undergone sex-change treatments.(...) In its anonymised report, one shelter manager stated: 'If we have a client who wants to come in that identifies as female, they can come into our refuge or any part of our service.'(...) Another interviewee added: 'We would never ask for evidence of someone's sex or gender because we're open to women on a self-identifying basis.'"

This is not about bigotry or transphobia or any of the other words currently being used to shut this conversation down. If you believe as I do that men who are not legally recognised as transwomen but merely self-identify as such should not have access to these spaces, and that allowing this access is a violation of women's right, please write to St Mungos and Women's Aid and let them know. I've included template letters below for anyone who wants to use them.

ByGrabtharsHammarWhatASavings Sun 07-Apr-19 13:20:51

Letter to St Mungos:

Dear Madam/Sir,

I have recently learned that you are allowing men who identify as women to access your women only hostels, even if these men are convicted perpetrators of domestic abuse. The fact that you have seemingly not considered the impact of this on vulnerable women is frankly astonishing. The danger these men pose to women is self evident, and I am disgusted that an organisation that claims to support the most vulnerable in our society is complicit in putting yet more barriers in place against women seeking safety and support.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind of the following relevant legislation:

1. Regarding provisions for transpeople, only gender reassignment is legally recognised as a protected characteristic. Neither "gender" not "gender identity" are recognised.

2. The Equality Act 2010 states that:

"A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person's sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex."

This does not mean that a person is able to self identify as the opposite sex, and expect to be immediately treated as such. The Gender Recognition Act is very clear than in order to be considered "undergoing" or "proposing to undergo" gender reassignment, and thus be eligible for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), the person must meet all of the following criteria:

(a) has or has had gender dysphoria.
(b) has lived in the acquired gender throughout the period of two years ending with the date on which the application is made.
(c) intends to continue to live in the acquired gender until death.

This means that by law a man who does not meet these requirements should be treated as a man for the purposes of providing sex segregated services (see below).

3. The Equality Act 2010 makes it clear in Schedule 3, part 7, paragraph 26, that:

"A provider can deliver separate services for men and women where providing a combined service would not be as effective. A provider can deliver separate services for men and women in different ways or to a different extent where providing a combined service would not be as effective and it would not be reasonably practicable to provide the service otherwise than as a separate service provided differently for each sex. In each case such provision has to be justified."

It also says that single sex services are permitted (amongst other reasons) if:

"they may be used by more than one person and a woman might object to the presence of a man (or vice versa)"

Clearly permitting men, especially men with a history of violence towards women, into a women's only hostel renders the service less effective. Clearly women who are vulnerable and likely to have suffered trauma at the hands of men will object to the inclusion of men in your services, even if (as many won't) they do not feel empowered to voice this objection.

The act even gives hostels for women facing homelessness as a specific example of when this exception should be applied:

"It would not be unlawful for a charity to set up separate hostels, one for homeless men and one for homeless women, where the hostels provide the same level of service to men and women because the level of need is the same but a unisex hostel would not be as effective."

Clearly the provision of sex segregated spaces in this case is fully justified.

To conclude, a man who self-declares himself to be a woman, but who cannot provide evidence of a GRC or who does not meet the eligibility criteria for an application for a GRC, must by law be considered a man and not a woman. Admission of such individuals to single sex service provisions, such as hostels for women facing homelessness, is in contradiction with the Equality Act and a violation of the rights of women to be afforded special protections on the basis of their sex.

I would be grateful if you could respond to this email detailing how you propose to address this situation in a manner which prioritises the safety of vulnerable women.

Yours faithfully,

ByGrabtharsHammarWhatASavings Sun 07-Apr-19 13:21:08

St Mungos contact:

complaints@mungos.org

ByGrabtharsHammarWhatASavings Sun 07-Apr-19 13:21:40

Letter to Woman's Aid:

Dear Madam/Sir,

I have recently learned that you are allowing men who identify as women to access your shelters. The fact that you have seemingly not considered the impact of this on vulnerable women is frankly astonishing. The danger these men pose to women is self evident, and I am disgusted that an organisation that claims to support the most vulnerable in our society is complicit in putting yet more barriers in place against women seeking safety and support.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the following relevant legislation:

1. Regarding provisions for transpeople, only gender reassignment is legally recognised as a protected characteristic. Neither "gender" not "gender identity" are recognised.

2. The Equality Act 2010 states that:

"A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person's sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex."

This does not mean that a person is able to self identify as the opposite sex, and expect to be immediately treated as such. The Gender Recognition Act is very clear than in order to be considered "undergoing" or "proposing to undergo" gender reassignment, and thus be eligible for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), the person must meet all of the following criteria:

(a) has or has had gender dysphoria.
(b) has lived in the acquired gender throughout the period of two years ending with the date on which the application is made.
(c) intends to continue to live in the acquired gender until death.

This means that by law a man who does not meet these requirements should be treated as a man for the purposes of providing sex segregated services (see below).

3. The Equality Act 2010 makes it clear in Schedule 3, part 7, paragraph 26, that:

"A provider can deliver separate services for men and women where providing a combined service would not be as effective. A provider can deliver separate services for men and women in different ways or to a different extent where providing a combined service would not be as effective and it would not be reasonably practicable to provide the service otherwise than as a separate service provided differently for each sex. In each case such provision has to be justified."

It also says that single sex services are permitted (amongst other reasons) if:

"they may be used by more than one person and a woman might object to the presence of a man (or vice versa)"

Clearly permitting men into a shelter for women escaping domestic abuse renders the service less effective. Clearly women who are vulnerable and have suffered trauma at the hands of men will object to the inclusion of men in your services, even if (as many won't) they do not feel empowered to voice this objection.

The act even gives shelters for women as a specific example of when this exception should be applied:

"These exceptions would allow (...) a domestic violence support unit to be set up by a local authority for women only but there is no men-only unit because of insufficient demand."

Clearly the provision of sex segregated spaces in this case is fully justified.

To conclude, a man who self-declares himself to be a woman, but who cannot provide evidence of a GRC or who does not meet the eligibility criteria for an application for a GRC, must by law be considered a man and not a woman. Admission of such individuals to single sex service provisions, such as shelters for women escaping domestic abuse, is in contradiction with the Equality Act and a violation of the rights of women to be afforded special protections on the basis of their sex.

I would be grateful if you could respond to this email detailing how you propose to address this situation in a manner which prioritises the safety of vulnerable women.

Yours faithfully,

ByGrabtharsHammarWhatASavings Sun 07-Apr-19 13:22:21

Woman's Aid contacts:

England: info@womensaid.org.uk

RoI: info@womensaid.ie

Federation Northern Ireland: info@womensaidni.org

Scotland: info@womensaid.scot

Wales: info@welshwomensaid.org.uk

CalmDownPacino Sun 07-Apr-19 13:23:39

Will do so immediately. This absolutely disgusts me.

QueenArseClangers Sun 07-Apr-19 13:24:21

Thanks for posting this.
Yet again women are being forced to bend over backwards/be put in mortal danger just to protect a man’s feelings.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 07-Apr-19 13:27:06

I think st mungos has really messed up here.
I think it's indicative of why organizations like that or the salvation army shouldn't get access to funding for women only services.

I have been following this issue for a decade and I still haven't heard of women actually coming across males in women only spaces run by a women's aid org.

They do risk assessments and a transwoman might be housed in a flat they run but I haven't heard of one being housed in a group housing situation

What I think they could be challenged on is the ideology - insisting staff get trained by organizations like stonewall or LGBT youth Scotland when they don't stand up for lesbians

Nearlythere1 Sun 07-Apr-19 13:59:51

That is absolutely appalling. I'll be sending the letter thank you .

Skyzalimit Sun 07-Apr-19 14:25:14

Please do your own research before forwarding on letters written by other people.

For another point of view www.homeless.org.uk/connect/blogs/2017/aug/03/how-do-we-ensure-homeless-services-are-safe-spaces-for-lgbtq-staff-and

Highheels1 Sun 07-Apr-19 14:30:19

Thank you for posting. This is absolutely terrible and there’s such prolific misinterpretation of EA.
There should be of course be services available to everyone, and this obv includes both trans women and women (no prefix necessary), however, self-id (even GRC in some situs) to access rape/dv or any female only space or service is abhorrent.

The power to maintain single sex spaces must take into account the core users I.e the SEX that the service is for and absolutely not further traumatise/gaslight these victims just because the scope of “woman” has started to also mean penis owners. (Never thought I’d write that sentence!!!)

I don’t understand why there has to be blanket acceptance of a quasi-religious belief and an unacceptable imposition of this on others, let alone the most vulnerable women is unbelievably horrific and imo a breach of the human right to not to believe in a non-convincing theory (one that even it’s strongest proponents cannot present a coherent, convincing, science-based or logical argument for imo).

I know that trans women can also be vulnerable, there should absolutely be separate services specifically available to them and to women who are happy with this. If TWAW then they should be able to understand this and wouldn’t want aggressively force access to single SEX spaces primarily to seemingly validate themselves at the cost of others.
And yes, some women would have no issue with trans having access, but many wouldn’t - both views are valid to the owners of said views - no one should be punished for how they feel about the physical reality that exists.

RosaWaiting Sun 07-Apr-19 14:36:42

Skyzalimit how does that link help with anything?

rightreckoner Sun 07-Apr-19 14:42:15

This absolutely should be on the main board. Women should know what’s happening to safety and privacy for women.

Smileyaxolotl1 Sun 07-Apr-19 14:43:36

skyzalimit
There is nothing in that piece that suggests that trans women would not be welcomed with open arms into female shelters. In fact that sort of idea seems to be the focus.
No one is saying that trans people cannot be vulnerable just that it is disgusting that pre op transsexuals would be allowed into woman’s refuges just because they said they felt like a woman.

BadPennyNoBiscuit Sun 07-Apr-19 14:47:06

Stoneawall can fund LGBT services, men can fund men only services. they have the resources

Women need women only services. Women have been saying for years that this would happen, that with self ID an abuser could end up in a shelter, and they have been called extremists for it.

Skyzalimit Sun 07-Apr-19 14:47:50

All I am saying is do your own research before targeting a particular group of people.

Hidingtonothing Sun 07-Apr-19 14:51:44

The problem with your point of view is this though Skyzalimit, keeping trans people safe 'your' way compromises the safety of women, as evidenced by the article referenced in the OP. On the basis that presumably everyone, on all sides of this debate, want everyone to be safe why on earth are trans people not campaigning for their own safe spaces? I really don't understand why not? No one would be pushing back against you then, in fact you would have a huge amount of support, much of it from women somewhat ironically.

I would genuinely love to hear why you think this isn't the route trans people are taking, why forcing their way into women's spaces is the preferred option instead because it makes no sense to me confused

BadPennyNoBiscuit Sun 07-Apr-19 14:54:04

No please lets not derail yet another thread about womens services.

The Equality Act states they are legal, lets stick to that.

Skyzalimit Sun 07-Apr-19 15:05:34

There is no my way. There's thinking for yourself, and there's following other people.

Here's something else to read if anyone wants to make up their own mind www.womensaid.org.uk/womens-aid-responds-to-the-launch-of-the-governments-consultation-reform-of-the-gender-recognition-act-2004/

Tomtontom Sun 07-Apr-19 15:09:26

Thank you @Skyzalimit for adding some rational thought on this issue, and not the sensationalist approach taken by others.

BadPennyNoBiscuit Sun 07-Apr-19 15:11:52

A man with a conviction for DV has self ID as female and was then put into a women only DV shelter.

Thats what some of you are supporting.

BadPennyNoBiscuit Sun 07-Apr-19 15:12:39

''When he was a man called Mark he was locked up after threatening to kill the mother of his child''

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6894599/When-man-called-Mark-locked-threatening-kill-mother-child.html

rightreckoner Sun 07-Apr-19 15:17:08

Nobody supports this in good faith.

Skyzalimit Sun 07-Apr-19 15:22:21

Risk assessments are done. Hostels and refuges have been dealing with diverse people for years. The Daily Mail is hardly a reliable source.

rightreckoner Sun 07-Apr-19 15:24:28

Diverse bollocks. Women’s shelters aren’t supposed to be ‘diverse’. They are supposed to be places of safety for women. This is not an equal opportunities situation. As well you know.

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