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Thousands of cisgender women sign letter demanding Liz Truss renounce her ‘disturbing’ attack on trans rights

Emma Powys Maurice May 22, 2020
Liz Truss

Liz Truss has faced fierce criticism from LGBT+ groups and allies for her plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act. (Luke Dray/Getty)

More than 3,000 cisgender women have signed an open letter to equalities minister Liz Truss condemning her “disturbing” attack on trans rights in their name.

Truss has provoked deep concern for the future of trans rights in the UK by issuing a number of vaguely-worded statements that mirror the rhetoric of anti-trans groups such as the LGB Alliance, Transgender Trend and Women’s Place UK.

Truss, who dislikes “identity politics” and wants to rename the equalities office the “ministry of freedom“, intends to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), and has suggested she will restrict gender-affirming healthcare for under-18s, and protect “single-sex spaces” for women – which is implicitly understood to mean the exclusion of trans women.

In the last month her problematic statements have been protested by tens of thousands of people. Now thousands more cis women from all walks of life have united to reject her framing of trans rights as a “threat” to women, letting it be known that “we do not need protecting from transgender people”.

With its list of signatories growing by the hour, the letter reads: “Trans equality was not widely seen as an issue until the Transgender Equality Inquiry of 2015 triggered a concerted campaign in the media to depict trans rights as a new threat to cisgender women like ourselves.

“We reject this assessment. As cisgender women, we are angry that these [transphobic] groups claim to speak for us, and try to justify their bigotry against a vulnerable minority in our name.

“It is disturbing to hear an equalities minister repeat their talking points almost word for word while outlining plans to reform trans rights.”

The letter continues: “The fact that you chose to make this a priority during the biggest crisis the world has faced in decades is even more disturbing. During lockdown, hundreds of women have been killed by abusive partners.

“Ethnic minorities are four times more likely to die from COVID-19. Surely these issues are more urgent?”

We do not need protecting from trans people. Please focus on protecting us from the dangers that are killing women right now.

The letter urges Liz Truss to speak and listen to trans youth, as well as the many LGBT+ organisations – including Stonewall, The Kaleidoscope Trust and the LGBT Foundation – which have raised concern at her controversial intentions.

It ends: “We do not need protecting from trans people. Please focus on protecting us from the dangers that are killing women right now.”

It follows another letter-writing campaign by the transgender community and its allies, ‘Dear Liz’, communicating the widespread fear and concern about the “serious issues that have arisen and potential loss of rights to transgender people” regarding GRA reform.

And more than 44,500 people have signed a Change.org petition called “Liz Truss statement threatens the future of young transgender individuals. This needs to be stopped.”

In a letter on May 18, Truss thanked people for raising concerns about the Equality Act 2010 and reaffirmed her commitment to protecting single-sex spaces for women.

“As part of this work I will ensure that government guidance gives a clear message to service providers, schools and others, putting their ability to provide single-sex spaces beyond doubt,” she said.

She added that she would “be able to say more about this important issue” when she publishes the government’s response to the GRA consultation in the summer.

In the meantime, cisgender women are still welcome to make their views known by signing the open letter and taking a stand for the transgender community.

More: Equality Act, gender recognition act, Lizz Truss, trans rights, Transphobic hate groups

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