Former Equalities chief warns against trans self-declaration

One of the authors of the 2010 Equality Act has spoken out against proposals to allow people to self-declare their gender.

Writing in The Times, former Chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips said allowing self-declaration would be “to the detriment of every woman, person of colour and disabled individual in Britain”.

He wants to see an easier sex-swap process, but says that “agitation by a guilt-tripping band of ‘trans’ activists has corralled MPs into contemplating a wholly unnecessary and dangerous further step”.

‘Unnecessary and dangerous’

Phillips, the equalities chief from 2006-2012, warned against allowing people to legally change sex solely on the basis of subjective feelings.

He said: “It is seriously being suggested that we should do away with any objective test of gender, and leave the decision as to whether an individual should be treated as male or female entirely in the hands of the person themselves.”

He continued, “otherwise sensible MPs on the women and equalities select committee have backed self-declaration”, which he said allows men “to become women without the inconvenient step of ceasing to be male”.

A recent poll found that 54 per cent of MPs feel they cannot speak freely about transgender issues for fear of being labelled ‘transphobic’.


Phillips called self-declaration an “insanity”, and said if permitted, should logically be extended to other protected characteristics including race and disability.

But he noted that self-declaration is “proving a disaster elsewhere” and highlighted Brazil, where prospective university students are taking the places of protected minorities by ‘identifying’ as that race.

The Government’s consultation on how to make it easier for people to legally change sex closed on Monday, having amassed more than 53,000 responses.

Undermining reality

The Christian Medical Fellowship was among those to publicly respond.

Dr Rick Thomas said self-declaration “encourages the view that gender identity defines reality and that biological sex is but a social construct, something ‘assigned’ at birth”.

He cited evidence which strongly suggests that among those presenting with gender dysphoria there is a greater prevalence of other psychological conditions.

Medical disorders

Such conditions include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, suicidal feelings and autistic spectrum disorders.

Dr Thomas said that self-declaration “would deprive these individuals of contact with mental health professionals at the time when their assessment and advice could be crucial”.

Related Resources