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Thousands of cisgender women sign letter urging Liz Truss to halt anti-trans plans: ‘We do not need protecting from trans people’

Nick Duffy June 17, 2020
Ministers 'unlikely' to reform Gender Recognition Act

UK equalities minister Liz Truss is reportedly preparing a new drive to ban conversion therapy (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Nearly 8,000 women have signed an open letter to equalities minister Liz Truss, condemning her alleged plans to push forward anti-trans proposals under the guise of protecting women’s spaces.

Reports have emerged that despite a consultation finding overwhelming public support, Truss has thrown out long-planned reforms to gender recognition laws to make it easier for trans people to gain legal recognition.

Instead, according to The Sunday Times, Truss is planning to impose new regulations to “protect” single-sex women’s spaces, publish new trans-exclusive guidelines on public toilets, and limit the ability of doctors to sign off on gender recognition applications.

In an open letter sent to Truss on Wednesday, nearly 8,000 cisgender woman challenged the equalities minister over her decision to press forward with an anti-trans agenda under the auspices of “protecting women”.

Cisgender women call out ‘bigotry against a vulnerable minority in our name’.

The letter condemns attempts “to depict trans rights as a new threat to cisgender women like ourselves,” and adds: “We are incredibly concerned that the language you have used is very similar to the anti-trans rhetoric used by transphobic hate groups and organisations such as Woman’s Place UK, Transgender Trend and the LGB Alliance.”

It continues: “We reject this assessment. As cisgender women, we are angry that these 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 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?”

Equalities minister Liz Truss
Equalities minister Liz Truss (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Women tell Liz Truss: ‘We do not need protecting from trans people.’

The letter’s signatories include women who work at rape crisis centres, domestic abuse services and sexual violence survivors charities, as well as the CEO of the Abortion Support Network.

Political signatories include Labour MPs Kate Osborne and Nadia Whittome, and Lib Dem leadership candidate Layla Moran.

Figures from media to sign the letter include Diva publisher Linda Riley, journalists from The Guardian and Independent, and nine members of PinkNews staff.

The letter concludes: “We sign this letter in the hope that you will listen to us, as well as transgender and non-binary people and organisations such as Stonewall, the LGBT Foundation and The Kaleidoscope Trust.

“We urge you to speak to trans youth, to seek out evidence and use facts, and to reconsider sharing talking points with groups that have been widely condemned as transphobic hate groups.

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

Cis women have also spoken out against Truss’s assault on trans equality by other means – with the LGBT Foundation boosting the voices of women who support trans rights.

“As a cisgender woman I would like to say to all of the trans and non-binary community: I see you,” one woman wrote.

“I recognise you, and I support your right to be you. I have never felt that my identity and rights are threatened by trans and non-binary people.”

Another cis woman said: “I stand in solidarity with the trans community.

“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people exist. Trans and non-binary rights are human rights.

“Black trans lives matter. You are beautiful, you are loved and you deserve to take up space.”

The government’s long-stalled response to the Gender Recognition Act consultation is expected to be published later this summer, with proposals expected to be brought forward by Truss later this year or early next year.

However, any changes to the law regarding single-sex spaces would require alterations to the 2010 Equality Act – something the government has previously explicitly ruled out doing.

More: anti-trans, Boris Johnson, gender recognition act, GRA Reform, Kate Osborne, Layla Moran, linda riley, liz truss, Nadia Whittome, transphobia

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