FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThe EHRC has released two statements: one on conversion therapy, and another on the Gender Recognition Act. We believe these statements are an attempt at distraction from a foundering Government. The EHRC should be an independent body that protects and represents the people. Instead, we find them using trans and non-binary people as a convenient excuse to draw fire away from the Government.
Do not let them distract you. They will not divide us.
It has been almost four years since the Government promised to end conversion therapy. We’ve had the conversations. We’ve had the debates. We’ve heard everyone’s voices equally. We know what is needed and how to achieve it. We cannot keep kicking the can down the road while every day people are suffering.
The EHRC statement recommends that legislation to ban conversion therapy should focus on sexual orientation but exclude gender identity. Just today Galop published a report showing the hideous extent of abuse towards trans people in the name of conversion therapy. 1 in 3 trans and non-binary survivors have experienced sexual violence intended to convert or punish them. Are the EHRC happy for sexual assault to continue? For attacks to continue? For violence? Their guidance suggests that abuse is okay, as long as it’s happening to trans people.
Not only is this disgraceful for a Commission that claims to support equality, it is disrespectful to all survivors of abuse. We owe it to them – past and present – to stop making excuses and stamp out this practice now.
Less than a year ago Gendered Intelligence and other LGBTQIA+ organisations wrote an open letter to The Commission expressing our concern that they were being led down a rabbit hole. We believed then – as we know now – that the Commission had no intention of protecting the LGBTQIA+ community. Instead, they have fixated on separating trans rights from the equality and liberation of others.
We are Going Backwards
According to the EHRC, “more detailed consideration is needed before any change is made to the provisions in the [Gender Recognition] Act.” How much longer can we consider? We have been waiting five years and two consultations for the Government to fulfil its promises. How long is long enough?
Every delay sends a message: transgender people don’t count, transgender people aren’t valued, transgender people don’t deserve rights. Every postponement brings another wave of harassment and discrimination, fuelled by a government who refuse to support the marginalised and the vulnerable.
Only yesterday the Council of Europe released a report on attacks on LGBT rights across Europe, and singled out the UK by name as one of the worst offenders. The Council condemned “the highly prejudicial anti-gender, gender-critical and anti-trans narratives which reduce the fight for the equality of LGBTI people to what these movements deliberately mis-characterise as ‘gender ideology’.”
On the GRA, The Scottish Government is unlikely to heed the EHRC’s advice. The GRA is close to reform in that nation, bringing further shame to the Westminster government who will ride roughshod over any marginalised people if it helps them remain in power. We urge the First Minister to continue with the important work that she has begun, and we applaud her commitment to the rights and wellbeing of the trans community.
Who is Safe?
This year the UK plans to hold the international LGBT Conference ‘Safe To Be Me’. But who will come to a nation that authorises conversion therapy against its own LGBT communities? A nation increasingly infamous around the world as an example of injustice and prejudice? A nation where a Commission that should uphold equality denies the human rights of a marginalised group? The truth is that none of us are safe until all of us are safe – and the EHRC statements make it clear that, in Britain, the trans community are not ‘Safe To Be Me’.
We urge trans and non-binary people in the UK not to fall for this cynical attempt to mislead us and break our spirits. The EHRC as they stand do not represent the people, and they do not represent the future. We can see proper legal recognition for trans and non-binary people and a total ban on the torture of conversion practices in our time. We can, and will, win this together.
Editors: email [email protected]