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Liz Truss letter to EHRC; spot the contradiction
79

InTheCanteen · 05/08/2022 13:14

The Conservative leadership election is giving women some opportunities to draw out the candidates on single sex spaces, services, sports and opportunities.

Frankly, I'm surprised this letter from February hasn't been more widely publicised up until now. I do hope Liz Truss can come up with a clear response: has she since changed her mind? Can she explain to us what she means by 'transgender people'?

twitter.com/TheAttagirls/status/1555514182493245445?s=20&t=mK96bvctJrsp2umZYK5r1A

Retweeted by Helen Joyce too.

Liz Truss letter to EHRC; spot the contradiction Liz Truss letter to EHRC; spot the contradiction
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NancyDrawed · 05/08/2022 13:30

I think there might have been a thread about it at the time, I'll see if I can find it.

That letter is a worry, although I'm hopeful that her position has become firmer in favour of single sex spaces since February.

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 13:54

My interpretation is that Truss was getting the EHRC to issue the new guidance, while making it clear it wasn’t the government doing anything.

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JacquelinePot · 05/08/2022 14:33

So Truss wants to maintain single sex spaces while simultaneously allowing both sexes access to said spaces?

Alice in Wonderland politics!

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Johnnysgirl · 05/08/2022 14:38

That letter literally makes no sense Hmm Wtf?
If this is what "let me clarify things" looks like, I despair.

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 14:43

But read it carefully: the government has no interest in changing the current situation where transgender people are able to use facilities of their chosen gender.

That’s true. The government didn’t intend to legislate to prevent organisations offering services on the basis of gender. But some will offer single sex services, and the government will protect their ability to do that as well. It’s perfectly legal.

That’s where we were in February. Let’s see what Truss does if she wins.

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Fenlandia · 05/08/2022 14:49

The only consolation I can take is that since February a hell of a lot has changed. Forstater, Bailey, the Tavistock, some sports bodies and Kemi Badenoch's plain speaking, have brought a lot more sunlight. The recent (flawed) YouGov polling showed a plurality of support for things we have fought for like single-sex spaces.

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Johnnysgirl · 05/08/2022 14:50

achillestoes · 05/08/2022 14:43

But read it carefully: the government has no interest in changing the current situation where transgender people are able to use facilities of their chosen gender.

That’s true. The government didn’t intend to legislate to prevent organisations offering services on the basis of gender. But some will offer single sex services, and the government will protect their ability to do that as well. It’s perfectly legal.

That’s where we were in February. Let’s see what Truss does if she wins.

Sorry to be thick (again), but the current situation where transgender people are able to use facilities of their chosen gender, doesn't this also cover sex based ones like toilets and changing rooms?
Either we can have sex based spaces and legitimately exclude male bodied people or we can continue to allow transgender people to choose the facilities they prefer.
How can these things exist simultaneously?

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Johnnysgirl · 05/08/2022 14:51

I really thought Truss was on it... Sad

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 15:40

‘the current situation where transgender people are able to use facilities of their chosen gender’ might mean they are not intending to change things where this is the case (as well as not changing things where this isn’t the case).

But we have to bear in mind that Truss couldn’t just implement the policies she wanted. She had to deal with Freer as well, and Johnson was very cautious in this area.

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 15:42

‘Either we can have sex based spaces and legitimately exclude male bodied people or we can continue to allow transgender people to choose the facilities they prefer.
How can these things exist simultaneously?’

Because I might choose to set up a running group for women, and not rely on the single sex exceptions. Or, alternatively, I might choose to set up a running group for women and rely on the single sex exceptions. Both should be legal and are.

But we need stronger action to protect women in intimate situations, to protect children, to address the situation in schools and in the public sector. Truss knows all this and I think she will take further action.

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Johnnysgirl · 05/08/2022 15:47

achillestoes · 05/08/2022 15:42

‘Either we can have sex based spaces and legitimately exclude male bodied people or we can continue to allow transgender people to choose the facilities they prefer.
How can these things exist simultaneously?’

Because I might choose to set up a running group for women, and not rely on the single sex exceptions. Or, alternatively, I might choose to set up a running group for women and rely on the single sex exceptions. Both should be legal and are.

But we need stronger action to protect women in intimate situations, to protect children, to address the situation in schools and in the public sector. Truss knows all this and I think she will take further action.

Right, so it's up to a business or service provider to choose what they offer, rather than a trans person to decide suits them best?
I get it, but I didn't get it from that letter.
Such woolly language in the pursuit of clarity is not good.

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 15:49

It’s up to a business but they have to follow the law. Sometimes that will mean they can provide facilities that are inclusive of transpeople in their chosen gender and sometimes it won’t.

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Johnnysgirl · 05/08/2022 15:51

achillestoes · 05/08/2022 15:49

It’s up to a business but they have to follow the law. Sometimes that will mean they can provide facilities that are inclusive of transpeople in their chosen gender and sometimes it won’t.

Oh. I'm confused again...
It's this "sometimes" the law will allow it and "sometimes" it won't. A universal standpoint would probably make life easier for everyone.

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 15:54

It can’t be universal, though. Sometimes the exclusion of a trans-identifying male will be proportionate and sometimes not. And vice versa.

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 15:58

Take my running club as an example. If I wanted to make it female-only, some of the following questions might come into play: Have I consulted with people who might use the service? Is it a paying service or an informal arrangement between friends? Is it competitive or just for exercise? What facilities are we intending to use, and can they be arranged for people’s privacy?

On the surface, you’d think it wouldn’t be a big deal for a transwoman to join a non-competitive community running session with no nudity involved. But then imagine half the women were Muslim and the picture might change.

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Johnnysgirl · 05/08/2022 16:03

Yes, absolutely. I was trying (and failing) to think of situations where it would be deemed disproportionate to keep a group single sex.

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 16:14

I actually think the litmus test of this whole thing - when we’ll see women treated with basic respect - is when it’s taken as a given that women are ‘allowed’ freedom of association and can set up clubs that exclude males, just because we want to. Like men are allowed to do.

But in reality there will probably be a compromise. We’ll probably have to continue to ‘justify’ our choices under the law, at least while the Equality Act stands the way it is.

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ZuttZeVootEeeVo · 05/08/2022 17:28

Right, so it's up to a business or service provider to choose what they offer, rather than a trans person to decide suits them best?

Yes. The conservatives seem to favour market forces (along with balancing PC rights).

That's why stonewall wanted to remove single sex exemptions from the EqA, to remove women rights to positive discrimination and space away from men.

I think it would be better to have women and children rights under a different law, so men rights to space away from other men isn't competing with women rights.

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Artichokeleaves · 05/08/2022 17:51

achillestoes · 05/08/2022 15:49

It’s up to a business but they have to follow the law. Sometimes that will mean they can provide facilities that are inclusive of transpeople in their chosen gender and sometimes it won’t.

It will also mean that:

  • there needs to be no attacking and harassing of female only spaces provided by the TQ+ political lobby to try and eliminate them from existing/trying to intimidate providers from providing them. This needs to be officially stood up to by govt.

  • they need to be clearly labelled as to whether they are mixed sex or female only

  • someone in government is going to have to face up to the elephant in the room of what action can be taken when inevitably someone male decides they're coming in anyway because that floodgate's now been opened and there's zero respect for female inclusion and access in TQ+ politics

  • there must be equality of access and facilities for females whose inclusion relies upon female only provision, and no government funded service can not provide a female only service as well as a mixed sex service under the name of women. Funding should be dependent upon female inclusion as well as TQ+ male.
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Artichokeleaves · 05/08/2022 17:56

I get really annoyed about this. My whole attitude to govt is: you let this genie out of the bottle without bothering to stop and think first. YOU get to do the really uncomfortable job of reinstating boundaries now to stop male people stamping all over female people's inclusion, equality, access and rights. They will kick off. You will have to stand up to it. Good luck with that. But it's what you're paid to do and the easy way out of just letting men get on with it because it's easier to just give in and exclude some females from public life is not acceptable.

If you'd bothered to listen to women a decade ago it would have been easier. We told you and told you and told you. You didn't. Your mess. You clean it up.

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 17:57

I agree with all that, @Artichokeleaves

I’m sincere in my view that there are some situations when trans inclusion is fine and presents no problems (mums’ egg and spoon race on sports day, women’s knitting circle at the local church). But we’re way beyond that and we need concrete protections for the very legitimate circumstances in which women require female-only provision.

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achillestoes · 05/08/2022 17:59

@Artichokeleaves

When I get angry I try to remember how much of it was done by stealth, and how there were a few captured Tories (Nokes, Miller, Mordaunt, Blunt) driving an agenda most people knew only a tiny bit about, in cahoots with their Labour friends.

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Pieceofpurplesky · 05/08/2022 18:04

If you think that Truss is actually bothered by what a woman is and isn't just saying what you want to hear to win votes then you are deluded. She will have a team who scour social media to find where she can win votes. Mumsnet is a gift for them.

Anyone who knows what a woman is wouldn't be spouting policies that damage them.

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ZuttZeVootEeeVo · 05/08/2022 18:21

I think Liz Truss is very concerned who follows her daughter's into changing rooms.

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ZuttZeVootEeeVo · 05/08/2022 18:23

achillestoes · 05/08/2022 17:57

I agree with all that, @Artichokeleaves

I’m sincere in my view that there are some situations when trans inclusion is fine and presents no problems (mums’ egg and spoon race on sports day, women’s knitting circle at the local church). But we’re way beyond that and we need concrete protections for the very legitimate circumstances in which women require female-only provision.

Women are entitled to meet and organise without the inclusion of men. Even when knitting.

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