Gender law goes under the lens

WOMEN discussed proposed changes to law concerning gender identity yesterday in Brighton at a meeting titled What is gender?

Radical lesbian feminist Julia Long counter-posed views of gender as an innate quality with an analysis that views it as a social and political construct which allocates prescribed roles to men and women in a patriarchal society.

Under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 individuals may change their legal sex but require approval from the medical profession, a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to live as a member of the opposite sex for two years, she explained.

Recommendations from Parliament’s women and equalities select committee are that this be replaced with a self-declaration and that current exemptions under the Equality Act 2010 allowing certain services and spaces to be reserved for biologically female individuals be removed.

One speaker said the assault on a 60-year-old woman by transgender activists at Speaker’s Corner on September 13 for trying to attend a discussion on the nature of gender was a “watershed moment.”

Socialist Feminist Network co-convener Ruth Serwotka described the online bullying and abuse directed at women who raise these issues, quoting threats and endorsements of violence against women by activists who support the changes.

And Transgender Trend’s Stephanie Davies-Arai expressed fears that advice preventing professionals such as teachers or clinicians from questioning a child’s declared gender could harm children as a large majority of kids with identity queries end up identifying with their birth sex, but there are moves to accelerate the prescription of puberty blockers which can result in sterility and arrested development.

This article was originally published in the Morning Star on 28th September 2017.