I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I am *so* done with Stonewall.
“Stonewall declined to participate”
That bunch of useless nobodies.
Do not donate money to them.
They are not interested in LGBT rights.
They are past their sell-by date and need to disband!
I am hugely disappointed with stonewall on this. They have been subject to much criticism on this issue and i’ve normally defended them in the face of it, based on their work on other LGB issues. But getting members of staff to pose as LGB people opposed to marriage equality on the message board, then refusing to defend their position on this issue is, quite frankly, indefensible. At least a statement outlining their support for civil partnerships and their view that they’re equal enough (even if i disagree completely with it) would have been better. The stonewall rioters must be ashamed this organisation continues to use its name.
LGBTory can say whatever they like, David Cameron has proven himself unable when under pressure to orate the same views- see his woeful video interview on GT and flimsy and empty interview for Attitude. Progressive conservatism is an oxymoron, and LGBTory will remain the salmon in the same old bigoted Tory river on LGBT issues. No matter the personal stances of minority LGBT individuals with a vested interest in LGBT rights (fraught with contradictions with the rest of social conservatism and New Rightism ideologies they seemingly believe (as Tories) though those stances may be), the rank-and-file of Tory MPs, members and voters still have the statistical lowest levels of support of any mainstream political demographic (UKIP and the BN do not count), and unlike the salmon, their struggle against the flow will be ultimately unsuccessful and a waste of effort.
The Lib-Dems’ new-found ‘how high?’ relationship with the Tories makes them all but irrelevant.
I’m not a Labourite (I’m far more left than that) but there are very few occasions in which a Tory government has enacted a piece of legislation which has granted more rights and freedoms to LGBT people. The notable exceptions are the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Scotland and Northern Ireland in 1980 and ’82 respectively, serving only to play catch-up to previously enacted (though admittedly insufficient) Labour legislation.
In addition and response to the comments of earlier voters, yes, Stonewall is certainly an ineffectual and arguably a nigh-on useless organisation, something I think poetically highlighted by how they doggedly refuse to defend trans rights despite the trans identities of many of the rioters active in the event which gives the organisation its name, including the ones who threw the first stones. Very sad.
Until Stonewall support marriage equality, they should be regarded as a homophobic organisation.
In light of their refusal to support LGBT equality, ALL their activities should be viewed with deep suspicion.
They are spitting in the face of the VAST majority of the LGBT population, who have stated overwhelmingly that marriage equality is a priority.
They are more interested in their proximity to those in power than in doing the job they pretend to do.
I wonder if they will get their staff to post messages on here anonymously to defend their inexcusable homophobia. They did that when the results of the survey came out.
From now on when any story gets published, which refers to Stonewall, I would ask that Pink News, refer to Stonewall’s refusal to support marriage equality.
They need to be exposed as the self-serving, useless hypocrites that they are.
It is factually inaccurate to refer to Stonewall as an equality group.
They are not interested in equality.
It is very upsetting that Stonewall wouldn’t even give a comment. They have an event coming up where they are going to announce their future plans. I can’t believe they are still not actively supporting marriage equality. Surely they must be losing loads of donors and if they threw their weight behind it they would be gaining donors. It’s incomprehensible.
Yet again Stonewall has betrayed us. Time to take action against them.
I used to support Stonewall but feel I must now withdraw my support due to their unpopular (non existent) stance on full marriage. Stonewall do not represent me.
“Surely they must be losing loads of donors and if they threw their weight behind it they would be gaining donors.”
My suspicion is that Stonewall’s corporate donors strongly influence their agenda.
And if their corporate donors tell them not to support equality then they will obey.
Their current position is toothless, spineless, offensive and incomprehensible.
LGBT people should quit supporting Stonewall, until Stonewall starts supporting us.
It’s that simple.
Any reason why Stonewall declined to participate? I’m assuming they declined because they don’t agree with marriage equality and that Stonewall’s position on SS marriage is per Summerskill interview last year.
Very disappointed, I rushed to look at this to get their view but so glad that the majoirty support it…
What would it mean if stonewall didn’t agree?
Is there a rift between PN and stonewall and is this the reason they declined, I think just to decline and say nothing is confusing?
Stonewall’s refusal to participate in setting out their position on marriage equality and their refusal to endorse marriage equality just shows the contempt they hold for the LGBT population.
With ‘friends’ like Stonewall, who needs enemies?
Stonewall is obviously feeling so secure in their funding, so confident in their influence, so powerful with their friends in high places, that they don’t seem to be able to bring themselves to address real issues.
A message needs to be sent, and something needs to be done to force Stonewall to change. Or to bring them back down to the real world with a crash.
I can’t believe stonewall didn’t participate. I used to support them but the fact they don’t support the fundamental issue of gay marriage means I certainly don’t any more.
The headline of this article should be ‘stonewall does not support gay marriage’.
Their actions are indefensible. I’ve lost all faith in them. They are worst than useless.
I’m quite surprised and shocked that Stonewall didn’t want to participate in this Pink News initiative. But maybe some of the people working for Stonewall could give their personal views about gay marriage and let us know what it’s like working for an employer which, on the face of it, doesn’t support equality.
Stonewall declined to participate! Says it all doesn’t it!!!!!
We must now assume that Stonewall does not support marriage equality.
The fact Sonewall (no “T”- yes it’s a cheap joke, but it makes me laugh) is the first point of call for many politicians and journalists on LGB issues means that they are currently holding back marriage equality enormously. We should be working to let the media know they don’t speak for us.
This piece must be quite embarrassing for Stonewall — as well as reading people’s comments on them. We could hold a protest outside their offices. I wonder if that would get the message through to them…
It’s obvious that Stonewall are no longer relevant or required in the fight for LGBT rights.
They need to disappear.
Stonewall are too busy shaking down our universities to hire them to assess their LGB friendliness to take part.
Still I’m sure one day Mr Summerskill will get that Lordship once he has finished selling out.
It really is quite simple.
Stonewall is irrelevant and crap.
They need to go away. Their opposition to LGBT equality is completely inexcusable
Why should Stonewall have to jump through PinkNews hoops? Apparently they are planning a statement on gay marriage and it’s up to them when and how they announce their views to achieve the effect they want to. A half decent journalist would have found out and reported their position – not snapped his fingers and expected gay organizations to write his article for him!
Don’t get me wrong. I am no fan of Stonewall. I believe it’s a Thatcherite group that “privatized” gay rights and stole the campaign from the democratic activist groups that existed before.
But neither do I care for the PinkNews approach – the ‘opinion poll’ – when there was no serious discussion of the issue beforehand. People have not been asked to consider why gay marriage is such a retrograde step.
Why has been no grown-up debate on gay marriage. Why was GLF so opposed to marriage? There was an article to be written about that – but it never was written.
Lesbians and gay men are just meant to ape “respectable” heterosexuals and undergo a mock ritual conducted by what are essentially homphobic institutions in order to obtain property privileges. The undesirability of marriage is not a simple question. There is a complex and subtle debate to be had. Ask why Peter Tatchell was once a part of a movement that condemned marriage but today reckons it’s a fundamental human right that lesbians and gays be able to hold and pay for weddings.
Can we please start the debate?
Stonewall has been point blank refusing to participate in the debate Michael.
Civil marriage is a legal contract.
Same sex couples are denied access to that contract, simply because they are gay.
That is inexcusable and indefensible.
Stonewall’s position on same sex marriage is homophobic.
Until they reverse their revoltingly homophobic position, they deserve every condemnation that is being thrown at them.
Newsflash to Labour – it’s MARRIAGE EQUALITY, NOT gay marriage!!!!!
Every other group seemed to get that. Labour brought us a long way forward but it seems as if they are being left behind by just about EVERYONE.
Oh, and not one more pound to Stonewall.
Let the 2% who aren’t for marriage equality give their money to Stonewall.
I append a list of the trustees of Stonewall. It should be easy thanks to the magic of the Internet to obtain their email or physical addresses. May I suggest that we pick a trustee closest to our area of expertise (so as a lawyer I will write to David Isaac) and write a POLITE AND REASONED letter to them arguing that Stonewall should change its stance on this issue.
TRUSTEES (FROMT HE STONEWALL WEBSITE JUST NOW) SET OUT BELOW:-
David Isaac (Chair) is a partner with the international law firm Pinsent Masons. David is also Chair of Modern Art Oxford and a trustee of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund
Liz Grant (Deputy Chair) is a Director of business development consultancy, Black Toucan.
Rob Berkeley is Director of the Runnymede Trust and Chair of the Black Gay Men’s Advisory Group
Michael Bracey is Assistant Director, Partnerships, Commissioning and Performance, at Milton Keynes Council
Jacqueline Davies is former head of Talent and Performance at Lloyds TSB and is a trustee of the National Union of Students
Jo Fraser is Change Director with Barclays Global Retail Banking
Katie Ghose (Secretary) is Director of the British Institute of Human Rights
Peter Havelock (Treasurer) is a Partner in Financial Services in IBM’s Management Consulting Business. He is also Treasurer of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court.
Lee Phillips is Financial Capability Manager for Wales at the Financial Services Authority
Liz Sayce is Chief executive of RADAR
Mike Smith is Chair of the National Centre for Independent Living
Anna Whowell is Director at Troika Dialog
Paul Wood is Group Business Protection Director at Aviva and formerly served in the RAF
END OF LIST OF STONEWALL TRUSTEES
Because none of us know how Stonewall decides their policies, we’re at a slight disadvantage in terms of how we are supposed to pressure them.
If Ben Summerskill is the reason that Stonewall refuses to support marriage equality, then he needs to be sacked for his shameful incompetence. Replace him with someone who knows what the LGBT community wants.
If Ben Summerskill is merely following orders from the higher-ups in Stonewall, then it calls into question, whether Stonewall itself is fit fot purpose.
If Stonewall cannot support equality then they should disband.
There’s no doubt about that.
Equality is not arguable. Either Stonewall supports equality. Or they don’t.
If they don’t, then they need to f*** off and disband, and stop damaging our rights.
And they should disband.
@Simon: I suggested that people should contact the ultimate authority, the Trustees of Stonewall, so that we can find out what the hades is going on in that organisation.
For the record, I would be very reluctant, personally, to see us loose Stonewall bearing in mind their good record on so many issues and the genuine contribution they have made to our rights for so many years. I want to know what is going on, though; and their refusal to comment at Pinknews’ request is inexplicable to me. I wonder if there is some sort of internal struggle going on.
Stonewall were asked to give their opinion on marriage equality by Pink News. It was a clear and unambiguous request which Stonewall refused to answer.
I see no further reason to ask them their opinion.
Their refusal to respond, to a clear request is sinister and homophobic.
I can draw no further conclusion, except to state that Stonewall are homophobic bigots.
At this point they should be regarded as a homophobic organisation who are opposed to LGBT equality.
Sorry Simon I would regard that as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We need to engage with them until it is clear that there is nothing left to engage with them on. And we need a single powerful body to campaign for other gay and T issues. I am going to write to them and see what I can find out.
I think (as Simon Murphy said) that Stonewall are too in bed with their corporate donors.
Their main focus is on getting together with businesses who shell out money for the right to use the logo, and to get into the “top hundred” – the latest fashion item. However, Stonewall doesn’t seem to work with trade unions or other people organisations, though I’m open to enlightenment here, and are too pleased to shmooze the powerful.
They have either lost their way, become infatuated by power, or have deliberately chosen not to be representatives of little people.
@Michael (Comment 24)
I think Peter Tatchell answered that point very lucidly in his statement. One can be sceptical of marriage as an institution and still be opposed to certain groups of people being barred from it purely on grounds of sexuality. An analogy might be with the armed forces. An absolute pacifist may still be opposed to a ban on gays in the military.
I am about to have a civil partnership, and I DO not want to have a marriage, or anything close to it. But I defend fully those that want to . We should all have the same choices, then what is choosen is up to the indivdual. Having been against Stonewall for a long time now. I am not surprised by their silience on this matter. Please plase do not donate to them any more.
Agreed that you can be against an institution but still object to people being barred from it in a discriminatory way.
Conversely I rather resent the way that some people seem to assume that simply because I am gay then I “ought” to be against marriage.
As I see it the issue of whether marriage is or isn’t a good thing has nothing to do with your sexuality. – You might as well say that because women were denied the vote until recent times then voting was somehow patriarchal as so something to resist.
Personally I see marriage as, warts and all, about the best model for loving relationships. And one of the great thngs about it is that it can be reformed, as it has been many times.
Having been a long time supporter of Stonewall I am disapponted in their non-stance on this. I increasingly look to the Lesbian and Gay Foundation for information and guidance.
They are clearly on the same page as me and most of my friends when it comes to LGB issues.
Nick Henderson of LGBT Network has it in a nutshell:
“The reason Britain created Civil Partnerships was so it could keep withholding the human right of marriage from LGBT people. The result is that we are barred from enjoying full citizenship, we are rejected from equality before the law, and we are denied acceptance of our human capacity to love, honour and cherish another for the rest of time.”
It’s time to address this discriminatory anomaly.
“The main issue is not whether same-sex marriage is a priority but whether LGBT people should be banned from getting married. We should not be banned. Equality is the number one issue. No LGBT organisation claiming to support equal rights should remain silent and inactive while we are denied the right to marry. Such outrageous homophobic discrimination must be challenged.”
Who cares? Stonewall do a lot of good things but are we seriously saying that without Stonewall gay marriage won’t happen?
We are going to get this and thats with or without Stonewall so stop your whinging and back the groups that do support it.
The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has been campaigning for the right of same sex couples to marry since at least 2004. Humanists in general have also supported gay marriage since long before it became a mainstream cause. This reflects humanists’ beliefs in a free and inclusive society.
Humanism is a broad movement which places the emphasis on human fulfilment, happiness, and freedom. Within this there is space for a range of perspective on marriage. Some humanists see marriage as a particularly valuable social institution. Others are more questioning of some of its cultural associations – for example when it comes to the traditional status of women -and accordingly see Civil Partnerships as more relevant. Others attach less importance to the role of the state in recognising and regulating personal relationships.
Whatever their beliefs about the specifics of marriage and relationships, gay humanists are united in believing that in a free and fair society everyone must have the same rights to formalise their relationship, irrespective of sexual orientation.
GALHA therefore believes that that both marriage and Civil Partnerships should be made available to gay and straight couples alike. A simple process should also be made available to convert a Civil Partnership to a marriage, or vice versa.
Only this will confirm full equality, and end a situation where gay couples and straight couples face different kinds of discrimination in different contexts.
It will also send out a powerful message that gay people enjoy the same rights, and the same responsibilities as straight people, enhancing social cohesion.
It would further end bizarre anomalies as when a transgender person has to divorce his or her partner.
We believe that religious bodies should be entitled to perform same sex marriages on the same basis as heterosexual marriages, though we would accept as a compromise that a religious group should have the right to perform either only heterosexual marriages or only same sex marriages.
Without the right to gay marriage gay people will remain second class citizens, and our society will be poorer.
I can’t believe this! What on earth is Stonewall’s problem? It’s a simple question – why couldn’t they answer?
All I can assume is either that Simon Murphy’s right and they dance to the tune requested by their corporate donors, which is despicable; or they are being pressured by Government and have to comply in oder to keep their ‘special’ status (I often thought this when Labour was in power); or Ben Summerskill is letting his personal preferences cloud his judgement. If he can’t put those to one side why doesn’t he let someone else do his job?
Stonewall have done some good work on preventing homophobia in schools, but why have that got this mental block about equal marriage? It doesn’t matter one jot what they personally think about marriage – the point is we should all have the CHOICE to marry whether we choose to do so or not.
Caspar said: “As I see it the issue of whether marriage is or isn’t a good thing has nothing to do with your sexuality. – You might as well say that because women were denied the vote until recent times then voting was somehow patriarchal as so something to resist.”
Absolutely right. I’m sick and tired of people misrepresenting marriage – it’s NOT a religious invention NOR is it something owned by straight people NOR is it a means of controlling women etc etc. Marriage existed before Christianity; in ancient times it included marriages between those of the same sex; it USED to have patriarchal tones, but it doesn’t now – unless, of course, you are so insecure in your own worth that you allow it to. A marriage is what you make it – they’re all different.
I have supported stonewall all my adult life & think they have done some amazing work over the years. But I will no longer support stonewall untill they sort this issue out. It is disgusting that the biggest LGBT organisation in the UK not only doesn’t support equal marriage but won’t even release a statement on why. Shame on you Stonewall! You have really let us all down in a very big way!
I am intersex. I want marriage equality for intersex people. I want marriage equality for LGBTI people – not marriage equality just for LGBT. I do not want a civil partnership. I want to marry my intersex partner and I want to do it in the UK and not have to resort to marrying under the law of some other country. None of these statements above is about LGBTI marriage equality. They are all about LGBT marriage equality. What is happening here? Why are intersex people being so blatantly excluded from all of this? I want an explanation and I want it now. Constant intersex exclusion from all aspects of human rights in the UK is just not good enough.
I am hoping that Stonewall’s stonewalling is indicative of internal debate and struggle, and an imminent change of policy.
I have told Summerskill that I think it is pointless spending any more money on tackling homophobic bullying while the law continues to make us second class citizens. Changing this must be Stonewall’s priority.
Summerskill has replied to me that the media has allowed Thatchell’s words to misrepresent Stonewall’s position. So a simple statement of the position, if it’s changed since Sumnerskill last spoke to PinkNews, would seem to be an intelligent way forward. That they won’t do this suggests arrogance or internal struggle.
I don’t want to see Stonrwall go undet. They have influence and brand value, and they have a lot of gay people’s money donated in good faith. We just need to get them pointing in the right direction. I will be pushing for personnel changes until that happens.
@43, Forgive and correct me Angela if I am wrong and showing my ignorance but I imagined transgender the “T” in LGBT would be an umbrella term that would include intersex persons like yourself.
Anyone care to comment very briefly? (as I realise it’s a little off topic here).
people talk about “gay marriage” since the majority of non-hetersexuals who wish to marry are lesbian or gay; it’s a bit of laziness and a bit of shorthand.
What we seek is marriage EQUALITY where one person can marry any other person (outside the restrictions), ie we want MARRIAGE not non-straight marriage.
Huge miscalculation on Stonewall’s part :-(
Please, everybody, STOP using the misnomer “gay marriage”. This indicates that we are looking to start a new civil institution rather than seeking to participate in the EXISTING civil institution. It indicates that we are seeking a special, new, different right as opposed to seeking full access to the existing, long established, SAME right.
PLEASE use the accurate term “marriage equality” or “equal access to civil marriage”.
Not only is this term accurate but it also stops us from getting sidetracked and distracted by complaints like Angela’s that “gay marriage” leaves out Transgender and Intersexed citizens.
“Marriage equality” doesn’t leave out ANYONE!
When a Trans person legally changes their sex in the UK, their marriage or civil partnership becomes null and void and they must have a different ceremony if they wish to still be legally bound to their partner, which is totally outrageous inequality. Love is not a matter of religion, the state, or what genitals or gender you happen to be.
as soon as I read this headline I knew that stonewall had not answered – for a group that fights bullies it is lacking in understanding that marriage should be open for those who want it
Thank you, Zack. :-) Myself and my partner are both trans – one male-to-female one female-to-male. In order to be “legally” partnered we would need to marry, divorce, enter a Civil Partnership, dissolve that and then re-marry. Oh, and only if we both get Gender Recognition Certificates. I don’t need a certificate to tell me who I am. What a farce – one that Marriage Equality would knock smartly on the head.
@Felix That’s an insane situation, it’s almost funny.
Michael No. 24….If and when StonewallUK issues a statement on this, you can bet it will qualify it first and foremost by saying that civil partnerships already provide enough rights but will probably give weak deference to those in the majority who want full civil marriage equality to avoid a backlash from its supporters who are dwindling by the day. StonewallUK by refusing to come out in full support of marriage equality is signing its own death warrant, in fact its galvanizing the rest of us to make our voices heard on this issue and giving power to other groups who believe in full equality. We MUST make it known to our politicians that StonewallUK does NOT speak for the majority any longer.
Even HRC, America’s worthless version of Stonewall (which isn’t worthless) supports full marriage equality, though they once held the same view as Stonewall. They’re still completely in the pocket of corporate America and the very people that they’re supposed to be keeping in line. Their primary purpose is to hob nob with the rich, famous and powerful. If the rich, famous and powerful at some point decide to throw the gay community a bone, HRC is first to jump up and take credit for it, even when they had absolutely nothing to do with it.
I would hate for Stonewall to go down this same road.
Isn’t saying, “we don’t see marriage equality as a priority when their are hate crimes in the streets and bullying in the schools” a bit like saying “we can’t prioritize women’s suffrage as long as women are being raped in the streets and abused by their husbands” or “we can’t prioritize the Civil Rights Act of 1963 as long as black men are being lynched in the South and being called the n-word in the streets”?
I’m really not understanding this “either/or” mentality from Stonewall. They act as if only one injustice can be addressed at a time.
If that’s the case then shouldn’t they prioritize which is more important, hate crimes or bullying, and work ONLY on the one that THEY have determined is most vital? And what about the execution of gay men in Iran and other countries. Shouldn’t that be prioritized over bullying?
If this were the way that all civil rights groups worked NOTHING would EVER get done because there’s always SOMETHING that could trump just about anything anyone could come up with.
“their” should be “there”
I’m American but I actually do speak English.
I can see why stonewall deals with bullying but it needs to also be pushing for marriage equality etc, an organisation for people should be able to do a lot more then stonewall is willing to do
Hayden, you make a good point. Its obvious StonewallUK hasn’t heard of multi-tasking. It should go out of business, its really not addressing full equality which is just as important if not more important than bullying. No matter how many laws are passed to prevent bullying, it will NEVER be stamped out altogether, as long as religious cults keep on saying negative things about equality which sends a clear message to the bullies that its ok to go out and bully or bash us. Just wait till the Pope arrives in September. He’ll be issuing one of his usual anti-gay equality tirades and then you’ll see yet another bout of gay bashing in the streets.
StonewallUK’s days are numbered, they’re becoming more irrelevant with every passing day, totally out of touch with reality. I daresay their funding has diminished and long may that continue.
Zack, I think Stonewall in the US should sue the pants off of StonewallUK for misuse of their name. StonewallUK has nothing in common with their American big brother on marriage equality and should be forced to drop the name and substitute Gay InequalityUK instead. Even if Summerskill doesn’t believe in marriage, he shouldn’t oppose the rest of us who want to and he should be fighting for it, not resisting it, either way. He’s behaviour is despicable. Even the Log Cabin (gay) republicans in the U.S. for the most part support marriage equality. Summerskill is unfit to speak for the majority of us, no question about that, and needs to be put on notice. Maybe a national marriage equality movement will grow out of this replacing StonewallUK altogether.
For someone who had bugger all help from Stonewall in getting our Brtish CP recognised in France and had to rely mostly on the green and Socialist opposition parties to raise a bill to change the PACS law I’m surprised we seem to be putting so little faith in our opposition parties and other LGBT groups. It’s disappointing Stonewall didn’t respond and clarify their position but is Stonewall necessary when the lib dems,greens and hopefully labour are all for marriage and CP equality… Someone said write to Stonewall’s trustees, wouldn’t it be better to pester your mp and labour potential leaders and lib dem mp….
Lord Lester and Stonewall both proposed CP for same sex and different sex couples in 2002, Lord Lester said in his debate in the house of lords that he was for gay marriage but in 2004 parliament and the people weren’t ready for it. I had the impression from his statement that he never regarded the CP as his end goal. What does Lord Lester and his charity, the odysseus trust think now? Can’t one of the other LGBT org do a joint initiative in the same way as Stonewall did to introduce CP, why is Stonewall so necessary? Are they more connecting with labour than the coalition party anyway, it’s confusing for the lay person why so much weight on their opinion is so necessary….
Civil partnerships aren’t equal in rights to marriage there are rights exclusive to the term.
Stonewall really get on my nerves they have been putting about rubbish lately and now this… Well if they can’t be bothered to comment then sod them.
Here’s hoping the coalition government pull their finger out – then my partner and I can register our Civil Marriage last year. Not in the least surprised about Stonewall. Since the early 90s they’ve known what side their bread is buttered. Thankfully I haven’t donated since then and am always keen to tell others just how backward they are.
“@43, Forgive and correct me Angela if I am wrong and showing my ignorance but I imagined transgender the “T” in LGBT would be an umbrella term that would include intersex persons like yourself.
Anyone care to comment very briefly? (as I realise it’s a little off topic here).”
Pavlos you are forgiven. The disinformation about intersex is widespread. Intersex IS NOT somehow a subset of an ‘umbrella’ term called transgender. Intersex is purely and simply intersex and is not a subset of anything else. LGBTI should be LGBTI in order to include intersex. T does not include intersex. The prevalence of intersex is from at least 1.7% to 4% or greater. Despite this, we are not included in The Equality Act 2010 and we continue to be excluded from human rights law reforms. I have no idea why – nobody has adequately explained it yet.
The concept of opposite sex marriage excludes intersex. The concept of same sex marriage excludes intersex. That is why only full marriage equality will include intersex people.
For further information about intersex and what we are denied in one country at least, please go here:
Nowhere in the world do intersex people have equality and human rights and everything non-intersex people take for granted. Although a couple of laws have been reformed in South Africa and Colombia to include intersex, that does not ensure full equality and human rights even in those two countries.
I call on the UK to lead the way in intersex law reform.
Angela is right of course. UK equality law is too narrow and does not cover intersex people. But can I just make a plug for Scotland’s hate crime law, which does. It is worded in terms of hate crime motivated by prejudice on grounds of transgender identity, which is explicitly defined to include intersexuality.
The full definition of transgender identity in that law is: “transvestism, transsexualism, intersexuality or having by virtue of the Gender Recognition Act changed gender, or any other gender identity that is not standard male or female gender identity”
I can see Angela’s point that it would be preferable for intersex related hate crime to be a separate category of hate crime rather than being referred to as part of transphobic hate crime, but at least intersex hate crime it is clearly and explicitly covered in the legislation in Scotland.
Tim, thank you for your explication of Scotland’s hate crime law. I would have preferred it did not use the erroneous term ‘intersexuality’ – the word they were reaching for is intersex, pure and simple. There is not sexuality about intersex, as it were.
One hate crime law does not equality or human rights or protection against discrimination or the right to marriage as intersex make, however.
Intersex people remain a legally subhuman underclass by virtue of this lack of recognition under the law everywhere in the world, including the UK.
It is simply not good enough. And it is not as if there are far too few of us to bother about, as some have said in the past (including British politicians).
I understand your point Angela – it’s like “transsexualism” and “transsexuality”. Actually we wanted to get away from those terms altogether and use rather more descriptive language, but the Scottish Govt lawyers wanted to use a list of terms. And then the fact that the ISNA use “intersexuality” on their website was the reason they went for that.
I wrote to Stonewall on this issue and received an (unsatisfactory) reply.
Inasmuch as an intersex person could have a sexual orientation that is straight, lesbian, gay, bi or trans I’m still having a bit of difficulty seeing how intersex people wouldn’t fall into either the straight or the LGBT category.
I’m not trying to be bloody or contrary but you said yourself Angela that intersex is not a sexual orientation of itself, I accept intersex people have a rights grievance that is not being adequately addressed but it seems to me to be a separate or additional issue to the issue of sexual orientation(though clearly it’s related to sexuality).
Marriage equality and a non gender specific definition of marriage should ensure legal recognition of relationships where one or both partners are intersex (or are you saying this is not so?).
I’m just thinking this through out loud, would be pleased to hear your response Angela
Tim Hopkins, you wrote:
“And then the fact that the ISNA use “intersexuality” on their website was the reason they went for that.”
Pity. ISNA – defunct since 2008 – could hardly be considered a credible authority on intersex. Many intersex people consider ISNA to have utterly betrayed us all, and its leaders – specifically Dreger and Laurent aka Chase – appear to have intended that for some time before they sold us out to our oppressors.
This article may help:
“A Conspiracy of Deceit: Alice Dreger, ISNA, the invention of DSD and Dix Poppas of Cornell who cuts up intersex babies’ clitorises” at
sorry haven’t read the website which probably tell me but what appears on the birth certificate of an inersex person?
The lgbti community is certainly expanding, hope it doesn’t cloud the issue of equal rights of marriage with straight couples, after all I’m not sure an intersex or trans person falls into LGB issues more that it does a straight persons issues, although I’ll probably be told that is wrong. I’m not trying to be nasty or blunt but I really don’t like the concept of a LGBTI community and I don’t think we have the same needs or legal concerns necessarily although I’m still unsure why the gender neutral marriage concept wouldn’t cover all people unless the govt wanted to particulary exlude intersex from particular marriage rights which would seem odd…
John, depending on the jurisdiction where intersex people are born, it could be male or female or indeterminate. In most though doctors are required to choose only male or female, based on a quick and arbitrary external inspection. If an intersex newborn’s genitals appear to vary from medicine’s idea of the perfect male or female genitals, doctors are quick to apply the needle and the knife in an attempt to make us into the perfect boy or girl, regardless of what sex we actually are. Homophobia is the motivation for this, as it is for all the many and various oppressions of intersex people, same as it is for the rest of LGBTI.
If marriage reform is really about removing all current limitations on one’s sex or gender – the two are very different things – then that is useful to intersex people. If it is only about adding the right to same sex marriage to that of opposite sex marriage then there is the risk that intersex people will continue to fall through the cracks.
Intersex is about one’s sex, about having the biological traits of both male and female. Some intersex people appear mostly female but remain intersex, some appear mostly male but remain intersex, some appear to be equally both sexes and some of us are neither sex.
Where law reform has concentrated exclusively on LGBT, intersex people remain without equality or human rights or protection from discrimination despite the root of our common oppression deriving from homophobia. The breadth and depth of our exclusion is such that we are faced with a massive, effectively impossible, uphill battle in trying to do it alone, without allies or support from the rest of LGBTI.
You may be surprised to know that intersex people have been there behind the scenes working alongside our LGBT siblings to achieve reform for you. A number of you may well be intersex without actually knowing it yet, and if it becomes known you are intersex then you are as at risk as we are currently.
We are appealing to our common humanity and to the humanitarianism of the rest of LGBTI to include us and to assist us in law reform.
There is far more to what I have outlined here of course, but I hope this gives you something to ponder. Our needs and concerns do overlap and more so than one might assume.
It is entirely possible, given what we understand happened during the processes that led to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010, that intersex people may well be excluded yet again. Under the former Act, important rights we once had were actually taken away.
Out of 71 comments on here, 9 are by Simon Murphy and his continual hell-bent rant against Stonewall. I do not deny that these people have always been a bunch of self-serving, populist mouthpieces more interested in further their own personal causes than anyone elses, but methinks really the lady doth protest too much.
It is pretty obvious that they are doing nothing, but what is the alternative? Peter Tatchell? If people are so concerned that LGBT people lack a balanced, apolitical voice, then why don’t they make one? As I often suspect, most gay men are all mouth and trousers round their ankles.
“If it is only about adding the right to same sex marriage to that of opposite sex marriage then there is the risk that intersex people will continue to fall through the cracks.”
I’d hope that all references to sex or gender were removed and that it becomes simply the marriage of two people, Angela. I can see why you’re worried about the possible wording though and I hope that point occurs to those who would draft any legislation. I think often there’s no malice involved – just pure ignorance (which, of course, is bad too).
I know two intersex people and for me the most disturbing, awful thing is genital surgery soon after birth. I find it abhorrent that it’s considered OK to interfere with such an intimate part of a baby if there’s no medical need.
I agree that homophobia is one reason for the poor treatment of those who are intersex, but I think it’s also a more complicated issue of society not being willing to deal with differences, and an obsession with getting a ‘boy or girl’ result. So many people seem to have a block about dealing with that. I also think that this societal pressure makes things more difficult for the parents of a new-born baby when surgery’s suggested.
Facebook group calling on Stonewall to support marriage equality (just created, join now to boost numbers!)
I was a founder member of a highly successful gay-rights organisation in another country, which was at the time rather backwards. Yet when I faced homophobic discrimination in the UK and unable to finish my university course as a result, Stonewall was worse than useless.