By Ryan Evans
Stonewall became the target of a public sector boycott in light of the LGBTQ+ charity’s firm stance against a trans rights reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA).
It has been a long three years for the LGBT community as the wait for a reform continues its postponement through 2021.
Tensions and deep concern mount high for trans adults and children in England, who wait to hear how their liberties within public spaces and healthcare will be affected by Minister for Women and Equalities, Lizz Truss.
“These are serious changes that will affect their lives and futures,” said 19-year old Joe Waller, a member of London Metropolitan University’s LGBTQIA+ society.
The reform of the 2004 Act, which will see a blanket ban on all trans people under-18 from receiving medical care, states how this “is not a direct issue concerning the Gender Recognition Act” and how “under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make that are irreversible in the future”.
This has Stonewall concerned as they believe this statement is similar to comments regarding Section 28 in 1988, which said young lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are “vulnerable, impressionable, and don’t understand themselves”.
Pressure mounts further after a recent comment made on Twitter by the charity’s chief executive, Nancy Kelley, in which she likened ‘gender critical beliefs to anti-Semitism’ – triggering an email to be sent to 850 public sector bodies, demanding that they ‘sever links’ with the LGBTQ+ charity.
“With all beliefs, including controversial beliefs, there is a right to express those beliefs publicly and where they’re harmful or damaging – whether it’s anti-Semitic beliefs, gender-critical beliefs, beliefs about disability – we have legal systems that are put in place for people who are harmed by that,” Kelley told the BBC.
“The interesting thing is it’s a group of gender traditional feminists who are siding with the far right, the homophobes, and the religious fundamentalists,” says 53-year-old Brian Tutt, the Head of Student Experience and member of the LGBTQIA+ society at the London Metropolitan University.
This gender-critical group, Tutt says, is “using trans issues as a kind of wedge to start dividing the community and the progress we’ve made”.
The Minister, Lizz Truss, has urged government bodies to drop the Stonewall “woke workplace” Diversity Champions scheme under the guise of “value for money,” following bodies such as the House of Commons, the DVLA and more not renewing the scheme.
Stonewall explained in a statement how the government has “fallen short on its promise to reform,” in ways that are more trans inclusive.
London Met stands with Stonewall
However, Brian Tutt assures us that London Metropolitan stands with Stonewall.
He said: “The Vice Chancellor consulted with the staff network and has replied in rejecting this and expressing support for LGBTQIA rights and trans rights in particular. So, the university has taken a clear position on it”.
Whilst current promises for change “make the process less costly and bureaucratic, they don’t go nowhere near far enough toward reforming the Act to make it easier for all trans people to go about their daily life,” said Nancy Kelly.
Student Joe Waller said: “The Equality Act was meant to make everyone equal, but it’s sort of left out a lot of blind areas, for example, it’s illegal to discriminate someone based on their gender, but once people don’t conform to a specific gender, it becomes a grey area.
“So, there are a lot of hate crimes happening, but they are going unreported because they’re not technically illegal crimes. Currently non-binary people can’t get married due to them not being recognized as a gender yet.”