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Shocked by YHA transgender policy wording

(270 Posts)
CliffsofMoherVisitor Sun 11-Aug-19 20:53:51

I think this is the first time I have posted in this section. I have quietly read the threads for months as a lurker and become increasingly horrified at the creeping intrusion of males into women's spaces/sports.

What's prompted me to post is stumbling on the YHA's transgender policy. As you may already know (and it has been discussed before here, it is no longer single-sex dormitories - males can self-id as females and sleep in the female dormitory and vice versa. Reading the policy, it sounds like the YHA are trying to do the right thing (they quote the gender reassignment parts of the Equality Act), but it feels like they simply haven't thought it through.

The self-ID part of the policy and all its implications is troubling - self-IDing adult males sleeping in the same room/bunk as female children for example - how do you safeguard against a predator simply lying about their identity? But the line in the policy that upset me most was in relation to the sex-specific exemptions in the Equality Act as follows:

*"In certain circumstances we may choose to invoke these exemptions; however, this is not as a rule. An example of these circumstances is people who have been the victims of abuse. In such situations we would work with all parties to provide a solution while still ensuring access everyone has access to our services. We invite people who meet the above criteria to get in touch with us in advance; please contact our customer care department at customercare@yha.org.uk. Individual requests will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Please be aware that these requests can take up to 14 days to process."*

Am I correct in my reading that a female victim of abuse has to not only reveal this to the YHA, but do so 14 days in advance of their stay to ensure a female-only space? What if a transgender person arrives without a booking on the day? Is a female meant to go to the desk of the Youth Hostel and reveal their traumatic history to the receptionist? Then the receptionist decides what to do? What if there is no other accommodation available? Some Youth Hostels are in remote places. I find this statement absolutely mind-boggling in its impracticality, and sheer disregard for the experiences of abused women.

I feel so sad, I such good experiences Youth Hostelling as a teenager and a young woman, and I always stayed in YHA due to feeling safer as a single female ("Backpacker" hostels were often mixed sex dormitories). I did this even though YHA was usually more expensive.

I have always had a soft spot for YHA and think (thought) that they did good work for example doing trips for inner city kids to get out and experience the countryside, do hiking etc and of course, allowing a cheap yet safe place for females to stay when travelling. Therefore, even though I am more a Premier Inn type these days, I have always maintained my YHA membership via yearly standing order to support them - going back over 20 years now.

I'm not against trans-gender people using YHA at all - with segregation by sex, not by gender "identity", as it was originally. Perhaps with the provision of a third space open to both sexes? ie Male, Female and Mixed.

So - I think I have to cancel my standing order sad Should I write and tell them why, or will they label any protest "transphobia"?

Link to current YHA policy

DodoPatrol Sun 11-Aug-19 21:00:04

You won’t be the first to write to them about this, as I did so some months back when my teenage daughters were contemplating a yh trip alone.

I expected something along the lines of ‘This is our general policy but obviously we wouldn’t expect s couple of unaccompanied teenage girls to share with an unknown male in practice’. What I got was an absolute brush off and confirmation that gender id was more important to the yha than actual sex.

So, the girls went to visit relatives instead.

barelove Sun 11-Aug-19 21:12:38

Please write to them saying why this is not fair on women who have been victims of sexual abuse. Every letter they receive will add up and the more voices they hear, the better. If every women who posted on here about their upset at this kind of thing happening, also wrote to the organisations involved, there would be thousands of letters. Much harder to ignore than the odd one or two. Who was it said 'the pen is mightier than the sword'? smile

truthisarevolutionaryact Sun 11-Aug-19 21:15:23

Good advice barelove.
Op - they need to hear from you. I increasingly withdraw my custom and support from organisations deliberately putting the safety of women and children at risk - and I tell them. They must never be allowed to claim that they had no idea.

OvaHere Sun 11-Aug-19 21:16:40

That's appalling.

The expectation that women should recount personal stories of abuse to a complete stranger in order to beg for their EQA rights to a single sex space is throughly disgusting.

I won't be using them again.

galaxybrain Sun 11-Aug-19 21:19:18

Related: Thread on ManFriday/ Hostelling Scotland
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3280690-Hostelling-Scotland-allows-men-to-self-ID-as-women-and-have-access-to-womens-dorms-and-shower-rooms

timeforakinderworld Sun 11-Aug-19 21:20:49

It's just so unfair that girls are going to miss out because of this. I had an awful experience in a mixed dorm and since have only ever been in single sex ones. Why should I have to beg for one of these!?

galaxybrain Sun 11-Aug-19 21:26:09

Am I correct in my reading that a female victim of abuse has to not only reveal this to the YHA, but do so 14 days in advance of their stay to ensure a female-only space? What if a transgender person arrives without a booking on the day? Is a female meant to go to the desk of the Youth Hostel and reveal their traumatic history to the receptionist? Then the receptionist decides what to do? What if there is no other accommodation available? Some Youth Hostels are in remote places. I find this statement absolutely mind-boggling in its impracticality, and sheer disregard for the experiences of abused women.

I didn't fully believe this and then I read the policy.

galaxybrain Sun 11-Aug-19 21:29:10

If we are unsure if a guest has picked shared accommodation appropriate to their gender identity, we may ask if they have made the decision to enter the process of gender reassignment.

Surely that's outing?

In rare instances we may need to make changes to a booking; however, we will do everything we can to provide suitable alternative accommodation in such circumstances. This is to ensure that we protect genuine transgender guests from those fraudulently seeking to gain access to shared spaces. If we find individuals are fraudulently trying to gain access to spaces they should not genuinely be in, they will be excluded from using our network.

I would dearly dearly love to see how they define a fraudulent transgender guest.

galaxybrain Sun 11-Aug-19 21:31:40

Like, I pitch up in a baseball tshirt and jeans and try and access the female accommodation and I get asked 'have you made the decision to enter the process of gender reassignment?' Clearly not, so what would make them 'unsure' about someone's gender identity? FFS.

OvaHere Sun 11-Aug-19 21:31:45

I would dearly dearly love to see how they define a fraudulent transgender guest.

Quite. I wonder how they would deal with Yaniv?

truthisarevolutionaryact Sun 11-Aug-19 21:32:22

That's an interesting paragraph - they've diverted from the Stonewall handbook - acceptance without exception! People fraudulently seeking to gain access to shared spaces I thought this never happened?

Victoriapestis01 Sun 11-Aug-19 21:32:39

I’ve never been to a yha so forgive my ignorance. Is the effect of this policy seriously that a woman or girl turning up at a yha may have to share a room with a male bodied person? A complete stranger, male, overnight, in the dark, when asleep and vulnerable?

Assuming it is, I just can’t believe the utter disregard of women’s safety and privacy. Do the yha think sexual predators turn up with the word ‘Predator’ tattooed on their foreheads? So that they can be easily recognised? Because they don’t. You can’t tell from looking at them or talking to them. It is just a recipe for abuse.

Are they completely ignorant of the fact that sexual abuse of young children can and does place while they are asleep/semi - sleeping? In the dark?

I wish a newspaper would do a story on this. It is simply an invitation to predators. They might as well roll out a red carpet.

truthisarevolutionaryact Sun 11-Aug-19 21:36:30

Victoriapestis01
Sadly every organisation who now takes instructions from Stonewall and other 'special interest' groups that all women's spaces - where we sleep, undress, shower play sport etc - are now to be shared with men - no exceptions.

littlbrowndog Sun 11-Aug-19 21:39:25

Absolutely shocking really is

littlbrowndog Sun 11-Aug-19 21:42:01

Jeez so you have to,tell them 14 days in advance that you have been sexually abused so you can b3 sure not to share a dorm with a man

What if you are a woman of faith.

boatyardblues Sun 11-Aug-19 21:45:30

What if you are a woman of faith.

What’re the odds on this policy change not having been impact assessed? 🤦‍♀️

timeforakinderworld Sun 11-Aug-19 21:45:37

And what is the point of having separate accommodation if not to divide by SEX. I really have no interest in how the women I share with identify or who they are attracted to. The only thing that matters is they don't have a penis !

truthisarevolutionaryact Sun 11-Aug-19 21:46:26

I'm getting so cynical these days but I suppose if the YHA wanted to remove women this is the easiest way of going about it. First ensure that women with histories of abuse, women of faith, shy women, any woman who doesn't want to share a bedroom with a strange man can't access spaces and bit by bit you will have removed women from all YHA facilities. And it can become the YMA. Genius.

GCAcademic Sun 11-Aug-19 21:47:27

Do they require proof of your sexual assault, I wonder, like the DWP does if you want to claim child benefit for a third child? Who decides if your assault is of a magnitude sufficient to evoke the single-sex exemption? Do their customer services people have a flowchart or something? It’s fucking disgraceful.

CliffsofMoherVisitor Sun 11-Aug-19 21:48:59

You are right, @barelove and @truthisarevolutionaryact, I will write to them. My voice will be a drop in the bucket, but perhaps enough drops will build up over time.

I can't actually believe the implications, the more I think about it, the more I see. Most backpackers have a lower age limit, but YHA permits children down to 12 to sleep in a dorm room (with younger children only permitted in a private room) Predators could gain access to these rooms and nobody could say anything. How can this be their policy?

To anyone who would like to add their drop to the bucket, I have looked up the address as follows: YHA complaints

truthisarevolutionaryact Sun 11-Aug-19 21:49:23

Maybe they will want to check your phone and computer to make sure you're not making it up GCAcademic ?

HotPenguin Sun 11-Aug-19 21:49:30

Hang on a minute, it isn't just victims of sexual abuse who might not fancy sharing a dorm with a penis owner. How about women who don't want to become victims of sexual abuse?

Really disappointed by this one.

littlbrowndog Sun 11-Aug-19 21:50:21

Yeah how bad does the abuse have to be.

A wee abuse, a fairly bad abuse. An awful abuse. And who,is judging the abuse

And how much faith do you have to have

See above

freakshowdown Sun 11-Aug-19 21:51:27

I've been sexually abused.

I'm willing to test this system and see how they deal with it.

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