Fire Brigade Union treasurer says self-identification will lead to ‘men waking up and deciding to be women’
Lucy Masoud, the treasurer of the London Fire Brigade Union (FBU), has denied her comments about self-identifying women entering female changing rooms were transphobic.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, Masoud said that potential changes to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) would lead to abuse by men.
Admitting that didn’t know what the “trans experience” meant, Masoud painted a picture used by many anti-trans activists in the US.
“What these gender recognition proposals will allow is exactly what you’ve said – that men will wake up one day and say: ‘I declare that I’m a woman,’” she said.
Masoud added that “if I’m in a female-only changing area and someone comes in who has self-identified as a woman, yet is clearly a man, if I challenge that person I would be in breach of the law, and that cannot be right.”
Her remarks followed inflammatory comments by London FBU executive council member Paul Embery, who ridiculed the concept of self-identification last year.
Embery wrote on Twitter: “Coming next: short people may identify as tall, fat people may identify as thin, and ugly people may pretend to be George Clooney.”
The FBU did not condemn the remarks, saying that Embery’s views “as expressed on his private Twitter page are his own, and are not those of the Fire Brigades Union.”
And speaking to PinkNews, Masoud used the same reasoning, saying: “I’m not talking on behalf of the FBU.”
She added that anyone who worried her remarks would increase anti-trans discrimination because they conflated trans people with abusive men was “wrong”.
“If people wish to interpret my words like that they should listen,” she said, adding: “The hysteria around the conversation is ridiculous.”
Masoud said people who took offence at her comments “don’t understand what the word transphobic means.”
She explained that “my comments on that were clearly not aimed at trans people.
“They were aimed at people who self-identify as women. Just because you self-identify as a woman, it doesn’t mean you’re a woman,” she continued.
Masoud defended her views, saying: “It’s absolutely a real issue. It’s happening as we speak. It’s happening in prisons.
“It’s happening in the fire brigade, where men are trying to self-identify as women. It is happening as we speak.”
She continued: “I absolutely support trans rights and the rights of trans people to be supported and protected in society.
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“I’m not referring to trans people, I’m referring to people who will self-identify when they’re clearly not trans.”
Last year, former Secretary of State for Equalities Justine Greening announced plans to review the GRA, a 2004 law that allows trans people to gain legal recognition.
LGBT advocates had called for the law to be streamlined to reduce the hurdles that transgender people have to jump through to get a Gender Recognition Certificate, adopting a simpler ‘self-declaration’ system that operates in Ireland and other countries across Europe.
However, this review has reportedly been delayed due to a significant backlash from sources including the right-wing press.