EHRC chairwoman defends biological sex despite online abuse

The Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is determined to ensure that equality law protects women’s sports and single-sex spaces, despite receiving brutal online abuse.

Baroness Falkner of Margravine was accused of being a Nazi who was dehumanising trans people, and was called names like “transphobic scum”, “bigot” and “fascist”, after publishing a letter in which the EHRC recommended that ‘sex’ in the Equality Act 2010 should be clearly defined as biological sex.

But she told The Times that she remains determined not to let the criticism distract her, no matter how hard it might be on a personal level.

‘Considered advice’

The letter was in response to Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch’s request for the Commission’s “considered advice” on amending the Equality Act.

The EHRC argued that on balance, “redefining ‘sex’ in EqA to mean biological sex would create rationalisations, simplifications, clarity and/or reductions of risk” in a number of current areas of legal dispute.

These include making it simpler for service providers “to make a women’s-only ward a space for biological women” and for organisers of women’s sport to exclude men who identify as women.

Lady Falkner said: “We’re hoping that if this does go forward then everyone will be clearer about the parameters of what is permitted and what isn’t permitted. That’s the motivation that led us here.”


Earlier this month, the Department for Education (DfE) changed its approach to ‘data operations’ by telling all state schools in England to log children’s “sex as recorded on a birth certificate” in annual data sent to Whitehall.

Women’s Rights Network’s Heather Binning, said: “While all pupils need to be treated with compassion, however they identify, we welcome this move for the protection of girls.”

The DfE said it “has been aware for some time that its data conflates ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ in a way that is both ambiguous and confusing”.

Also see:


EHRC advises Govt to adopt biological definition of sex

UK Govt set to derail Holyrood ‘sex-swap’ law

Belief in biological sex upheld by Maya Forstater tribunal

Court: ‘Men can take women’s positions on boards if they have a gender certificate’

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