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Public Meeting: Transgender Law Changes

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

A Woman's Place

A public meeting has been organised to discuss controversial changes to transgender laws.

Hippodrome, Todmorden, Thursday 7th June, 7pm

The meeting is organised by local women alongside the campaigning organisation A Woman's Place, and the speakers will be:

  • Gill Smith – De-transitioned woman
  • Kristina Jayne Harrison – Socialist transwoman
  • Ruth Serwotka – Co-founder of Woman's Place UK

The meeting will discuss proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004. In July 2017, the government announced a consultation to start in "the Autumn" about proposals to reform the Act. Due to the controversy surrounding the proposals, the consultation has since been delayed and has still not been announced.

The proposals are to 'demedicalise' the process of changing 'gender', so that people can self-identify as the gender they choose, without any need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, or to transition or have surgery.

Woman's Place UK, in conjunction with local organisers, have been holding well attended meetings around the country to allow those with concerns to meet and discuss the proposed changes and what they might mean for the rights of women and girls.

These proposals are controversial as organisations such as A Woman's Place UK argue that self-identification of transgender people will disadvantage women.

It will make it harder to gather accurate data, for example on sex discrimination. Self-identification may also mean the end of women-only hospital wards and other spaces where a male presence would be unwelcome, such as changing rooms, toilets and women's prisons. Women sports players may be negatively impacted as they are expected to compete against male-bodied people.

Some trans-identified people also oppose the proposed reforms as they see them as a threat to trans people who transition and suffer from gender dysphoria. Socialist transwoman Kristina Jayne Harrison will be speaking to outline her concerns with proposed reforms.

Also speaking is Gill Smith. Gill transitioned from female to male but has since "desisted" and no longer takes testosterone or identifies as a man. She was bullied for being a lesbian as a teenager and feels that gender identity disorder was imposed on her. She has concerns about transgender ideology and the impact on young women, particularly young lesbian women.

Local organiser, Catherine, outlined why she was concerned. "We fully support the rights of trans people to dress and live as they wish to, and to be protected from prejudice in the way any minority ought to be. But in claiming that trans people are actually the sex they identify as, and always have been, biological and material reality is being ignored. This could lead us as a society into some unhelpful areas, particularly where gender non-conforming teenagers are concerned.

"We need to be able to discuss and debate these issues openly without fear of being called transphobic and in a way that respects all viewpoints. I hope that the meeting in Todmorden will enable that, and be open to people with different levels of knowledge on the topic and importantly, different opinions"

The meeting is open to the public and will take place from 7pm at the Hippodrome. Tickets are available on Eventbrite and more information is available here