Women’s safety would be threatened if the Government pushes ahead with plans to change laws on transsexualism – but there is a climate of fear stopping more people speaking out, activists have warned.
Existing sex-based laws would be rendered “meaningless” if ministers allowed men to become women by simply ‘feeling like it’, the women’s rights campaigners told The Sunday Times.
Their comments come as one of the leading political proponents of the transsexualism changes admits that a system involving self-identification of gender is open to abuse.
Last month equalities minister Justine Greening said the Government wants to make it straightforward to ‘change sex’. Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have also spoken positively of changing the law.
But in their letter to The Sunday Times, members of groups including Fair Play For Women, said the ideas were dangerous for women.
“The mainstream media has tended to fight shy of acknowledging the clash of rights between women and the transgender community, even though clearly the proposed shift in the definition of ‘woman’ to a feeling of ‘gender identity’ would render existing sex-based laws and provisions meaningless”, they said.
Warning that such proposals would hamper the ability to speak “accurately about men and women”, the activists cautioned of a “censorious climate” where “not all forums are willing to allow open and honest debate”.
The writers, which also included members of the Women & Girls Equality Network and Transgender Trend, said teachers and GPs could feel pressured to push children towards transsexualism.
…the proposed shift in the definition of ‘woman’ to a feeling of ‘gender identity’ would render existing sex-based laws and provisions meaningless
They concluded: “This is an extremely serious moment for the future of women’s services, women’s safety and women’s legal protections.”
On Saturday, The Times published an interview with Maria Miller MP on transsexualism – it was her parliamentary committee which proposed ideas in January that are now receiving further support.
Under questioning from journalist Janice Turner, Miller threatened to walk out of the interview, claiming it was a “stitch-up”.
She was asked about the scenario of a man going into a female changing area, undressing, and claiming that because he ‘identified as a woman’ he was allowed to stay.
Miller went on to say: “There will be individuals who will try to use this as an abuse of the system”, but suggested that society would ‘move on’ to accept transsexualism.