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Stonewall and the Welsh Government

(43 Posts)
FOIrequester Wed 19-Aug-20 17:41:38

On 9th July the Welsh Government issued a "Statement of support for Wales’ Trans Communities"

gov.wales/written-statement-statement-support-wales-trans-communities

From the statement:
"We have provided funding to Stonewall Cymru to begin work engaging stakeholders to develop an updated Transgender Action Plan for Wales. At a constructive meeting this week, chaired by Stonewall Cymru, we heard directly from members of the trans community who expressed their concerns about a lack of progress by the UK Government regarding its commitment to Gender Recognition Act reforms. In particular, they were dismayed at the increasing likelihood of a regression in their Human Rights as trans people. We share their concerns."

I requested information about this meeting and other communications with Stonewall, and I have now had a response.

www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/meetings_and_correspondence_with_6#incoming-1617199

OP’s posts: |
FOIrequester Wed 19-Aug-20 17:43:16

The minutes of the meeting revealed this:

"The Deputy Minister confirmed that she and the Counsel General would agree a joint statement which would issue publically but that it was important for this meeting to have taken place first so that they could listen and understand the issues."

Three days later the two Welsh Government ministers who attended this meeting, Jane Hutt (the Deputy Minister) and Jeremy Miles (the Counsel General), published their statement. Having been advised only by Stonewall, they presumably didn’t think it was in any way controversial to say in that statement:

“We believe trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. We restate our support for trans people’s right to self-identification.”

I have written to them asking for clarification of exactly what they mean by this.

OP’s posts: |
FOIrequester Wed 19-Aug-20 17:46:07

There seems to be some indication from the FOI response that Stonewall have been trying to push Welsh Government to make changes to the GRA rather than wait for the decision from the UK Government.

From the Stonewall invitation to their representatives at the meeting:

”I’m writing to invite you to a virtual meeting with Jeremy Miles and Jane Hutt, who are both Members of the Senedd Cymru, to discuss the Welsh Government’s strategy on the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reform, including representations to the UK Government about delays to the reform, a potential public statement from Welsh Gov and – interestingly - the potential for Wales to make progress on this issue unilaterally.”

From the meeting on 6th July:

” The Counsel General acknowledged that recent leaks in the media in relation to the Gender Recognition Act review have caused a great sense of anxiety. He stated that Welsh Government is keen to hear what the priorities and asks of this group are and how Welsh Government can best signal support as well as the practical things that can be done to offer real life support. He committed to asking Welsh Government lawyers to determine whether there is anything that can be done within Wales’ devolved power to better understand what can be done to mitigate any UK Government shortcomings.”

But this, from the July 9th statement, seems to indicate that Welsh Government is tied to whatever the UK Government decision is on GRA reform:

”While the thrust of the Gender Recognition Act may deal with matters which are reserved, we will explore what actions may be open to us to support trans people in related areas which are within devolved competence.”

OP’s posts: |
Melroses Wed 19-Aug-20 17:46:57

Thank you.

What happens when they meet stonewall, that they lose sight of any need to ever meet anyone else?

OvaHere Wed 19-Aug-20 18:01:12

Not in Wales but bumping this so any Welsh MNetters can spot it.

highame Wed 19-Aug-20 18:12:57

Always by stealth

There seems to be some indication from the FOI response that Stonewall have been trying to push Welsh Government to make changes to the GRA rather than wait for the decision from the UK Government.

FOIrequester Wed 19-Aug-20 20:38:37

How little the Welsh Government knows about the controversy around the treatment of children who identify as transgender is shown here (from the 6th July meeting):

”There needs to be more work with parents and families of trans and gender questioning young people. Parents do not get support and are feeling distraught, out of control and helpless. The media is reporting that irreversible changes are being made to bodies which is not the case. Parents are having to watch their children who cannot access services to ensure they do not self-harm. The costs of accessing the London clinic are huge – help is needed for parents and young people in Wales.”

”Trans groups would be happy to work with Welsh Government to set up a trans youth service and to remove artificial blocks to providing and accessing services.”

So it appears that the Welsh Government know nothing about the resignations from the Tavistock, or what Marcus Evans and Carl Heneghan have written about young people who are, all too hastily, diagnosed with gender dysphoria, or about the Keira Bell case, or any of the debate around what treatments should be available to children who identify as transgender. Stonewall have told them that this is all just scaremongering by the media and that children aren’t really being harmed, so they appear to believe that everything must be fine.

This is particularly worrying, because they are likely to be making policy on the basis of false assumptions and without all the information they need, because they have only listened to Stonewall.

OP’s posts: |
mejon Wed 19-Aug-20 22:41:13

Thank you for your great work yet again FOIrequester.

I despair angry

RochelleGoyle Wed 19-Aug-20 22:49:07

Well I wonder if there is a women's group in Wales that might write to the WAG putting forward alternative views. The thing is, my experience from joining local Welsh feminist groups on places such as Facebook is that any sniff of being GC leads to an immediate and quite vicious woke pile-on. hmm

OvaHere Wed 19-Aug-20 23:13:04

There was a WPUK meeting in Cardiff a couple of years ago so I wonder if WPUK still have contacts in the area? Plus any MNetters still around from back then.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3224624-WPUK-Wales-meeting-last-week-help-needed

There's also the ReSisters org - a Cardiff branch and a Swansea/Gower branch.

resistersunited.org

ThePurported Wed 19-Aug-20 23:18:02

How little the Welsh Government knows about the controversy around the treatment of children who identify as transgender is shown here

That is worrying. Are there any Welsh politicians who are up to speed on this issue?

OvaHere Wed 19-Aug-20 23:27:00

ThePurported

*How little the Welsh Government knows about the controversy around the treatment of children who identify as transgender is shown here*

That is worrying. Are there any Welsh politicians who are up to speed on this issue?

David TC Davies who helped organise the talk in parliament with We Need To Talk is MP for Monmouth and was made Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales last year.

He took a lot of flak for assisting the WNNT org.

He might be a good place to start.

FOIrequester Thu 20-Aug-20 00:14:01

There was a WPUK meeting in Cardiff a couple of years ago

Helen Mary Jones spoke at that meeting, I think. She became a member of the Senedd again a few months after that meeting, but she's been pretty quiet on this since then. She's a regional member for Mid and West Wales, so anyone who's in that region (I'm not) could try writing to her.

David TC Davies is an MP, so isn't going to be any help here.

OP’s posts: |
Namechangearoon Thu 20-Aug-20 00:42:46

RochelleGoyle

Well I wonder if there is a women's group in Wales that might write to the WAG putting forward alternative views. The thing is, my experience from joining local Welsh feminist groups on places such as Facebook is that any sniff of being GC leads to an immediate and quite vicious woke pile-on. hmm

There is Lleisiau Merched Cymru who have been highlighting some of the issues to do with single sex spaces amongst other things.

It may also help if GC feminists in Wales contact Jane Hutt with some of the information about the Tavistock etc.

weaverbirds Thu 20-Aug-20 01:37:23

A number of individuals are also plugging away at this, including LP members. So far their concerns have been ignored by Welsh politicians.

There is a disturbing similarity with Scotland. Institutional capture at all levels, including from third-sector and civic/political organisations that are supposed to be looking out for women & girls and supporting their sex-based rights. We've got a fight on our hands for sure.

Agree with Namechange - GC feminists in Wales really need to contact Jane Hutt on this one, and keep the pressure up.

stillamum22 Thu 20-Aug-20 08:22:43

I've written along with other GC women in Wales about this document. As usual the thrust of our concerns are being ignored, just empty reassurances... The influence and reach of Stonewall appears to have completely overtaken any rational approach to this subject. It is genuinely scary, especially for those of us with teens in families who see the casual acceptance in schools of socially transitioning youngsters.... Welsh GC groups aren't complacent about this and are pushing back, but there's no doubt that like Scotland support from the wider GC group is fabulous!!

weaverbirds Thu 20-Aug-20 09:48:12

One slight hope - largely due to the OP's persistence last time around when the EIA was 'lost' along with every single reference to it ever having existed - is that WG might feel obliged to produce an equalities assessment this time.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3652524-Welsh-Assembly-and-the-lost-equality-impact-assessment

No doubt it will slide over the actual impact on women & girls of losing their sex-based rights, but at least these will have to be considered. There is so much evidence of harm/detriment it's hard to ignore.

FOIrequester Thu 20-Aug-20 11:15:45

I expect the EIA to be like the one that a trans lobby group did for the Scottish Prison Service for their policy on trans prisoners.

scottish-women.com/2018/09/12/scottish-prison-service-policy-written-by-trans-lobby-group/

"The Equality Impact Assessment not only incorrectly names the protected characteristics, (gender and gender identity are NOT in the Equality Act 2010) it doesn’t even consider that WOMEN would be affected by this. Female prisoners AND staff are obviously going to be affected."

OP’s posts: |
weaverbirds Thu 20-Aug-20 12:24:54

Seems that even my sliver of optimism was misplaced OP. Democratic accountability is paper thin isn't it? Except where men (however they identify) are concerned.

The fact that just 2 Welsh Govt reps could meet with a single lobby group and then come up with this far-reaching statement is hugely worrying. Given the Scottish experience it sounds as if the EIA could be equally one-sided.

mejon Thu 20-Aug-20 15:52:10

I'm in mid-Wales and I'd be happy to contact Helen Mary Jones but could do with some help with what to say if anyone more erudite would like to assist? HMJ has seemed fairly quiet on these matters since she spoke at that WPUK meeting. If Twitter's anything to go by she's been rounded on as a transphobe by the woke youth of Plaid Cymru and unfortunately the party line is TWAW.

weaverbirds Thu 20-Aug-20 16:31:41

I think you might be right Mejon - HMJ has essentially gone to ground on this one. She might be trying to influence things behind the scenes (as my MP suggested he was doing - without evidence of either action or impact) but the situation demands much more than that from our elected representatives. Probably won't hold my breath.

weaverbirds Thu 20-Aug-20 16:35:44

Of relevance: there's a recent thread about Gender Critical Autistics with a speech by one member pointing out that 1.6% of the population account for 35% of referrals to the Tavi. It's not just women who are threatened by the gender ID ideology.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBplHRM3TBY&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1zMgjevPo4PWPF0CVbWY1OkKrhOJ3AOmaUllYcqc5eTk5m6c3LugbccIw

Wondersense Thu 20-Aug-20 18:09:25

I find it depressing that Stonewall has such a hold on so many organisations in Wales. The Welsh Government has utterly and completely lost touch, maybe deliberately with its supporters. I think a large part of the problem is that they're based in Cardiff, a city I really like but seems to have become home to many English middle-class graduates who are very concerned about virtue signaling to make up for their privilege. The cultural and economic gap between the backgrounds of the Welsh students in my college compared to the English student (who were almost all privately educated) was very, very apparent.

Instead of tackling more difficult, complex things like rural unemployment, the massive problem of second homes in North Wales, erosion of Welsh speaking communities and the negatives of tourism etc, they have opted for waving the flag for 'easier' issues to tackle. Ones that take much less time to implement and ones that will help their PR in this city. Much like what Plaid Cymru are doing sadly.

Patriciawentworth Thu 20-Aug-20 19:37:24

There are some real issues about Welsh Government accountability.

For one thing, Wales is so strongly Labour that frankly if Welsh Labour brought in a policy of culling everyone’s first born, they’d still have a fighting chance of a majority in the Senedd.

For another, the regional press are utterly supine.

Having said that, there is an election coming up. If anyone GC wants to promote GC issues, the best way to do so would be to contact Conservative members of the Senedd. Make them make it into an electoral issue - because the idea of men in girls’ changing rooms, and of men in women’s rugby teams, will go down like a bowl of cold sick in the Valleys. It’s a policy that is completely at odds with values outside a few wealthy enclaves in Cardiff. Labour won’t want to take any chances by going into the election with the ‘penises in your daughters’ changing room’ banner held aloft in Ebbw Vale.

Conservative members are the way forward here, whatever your personal politics.

NiceGerbil Thu 20-Aug-20 19:52:38

Just noticed the statement

'we believe that' accepts that it's a belief and not a fact.

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