Transgender People Not Entitled to Women-Only Bathrooms: UK Responds to Feminist Petition

An aspiring model does her make up before auditioning for a transgender/transsexual modelling agency set to open in New Delhi, February 7, 2016.
An aspiring model does her make up before auditioning for a transgender/transsexual modelling agency set to open in New Delhi, February 7, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files)

The U.K. government has responded to a petition demanding that women be heard from when it comes to transgender people using single-sex spaces, by vowing that the latter will not be legally entitled to female or male-only bathrooms.

"Any GRA reform will not change the protected characteristics in the Equality Act nor the exceptions under the Equality Act that allow provision for single and separate sex spaces," said the Government Equalities Office, speaking of the Gender Recognition Act.

"Providers of women-only services can continue to provide services in a different way, or even not provide services to trans individuals, provided it is objectively justified on a case-by-case basis," it added, as reported by The Independent on Monday.

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"The same can be said about toilets, changing rooms or single-sex activities. Providers may exclude trans people from facilities of the sex they identify with, providing it is a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim."

An official petition to the U.K. government, which as of Thursday morning had over 12,000 signatures, demanded that women be consulted when it comes to changes to policies affecting gender.

"We call for women to be consulted on how to protect women and girls' rights, safety, privacy and dignity," asks the petition started by feminist groups, such as The Sex and Gender Ethics Society, A Woman's Place UK, Fair Play for Women, and #ManFriday.

It calls for "evidence-based discussion" about how changes to the law will affect women, as well as for the government to "consult with women's organisations on how self-declaration would impact on women-only services and spaces, data-gathering, and monitoring of sex-based discrimination."

Finally, it said that single-sex spaces, such as women's only bathrooms, should be preserved.

Transgender activists have asked for people to be allowed to use bathrooms based on the gender they identity with, rather than their biological sex, with the debate spreading to public places and schools.

Over in the U.S., feminist groups have occasionally aligned with conservative Christians and Jewish lesbians, amongst others, when calling out for protection for women and girls amid changes to gender identity laws.

Kaeley Triller Haver, a Christian and a survivor of sexual abuse, spoke out against allowing transgender people born as biological males to use women's bathroom in a panel discussion in February 2017, by saying, "When 'gender identity' wins, women always lose. That's how this works."

"Woman' means something. And far too many of us, we get silenced and told to sit down and be quiet ... and what is happening with gender identity issues is that women are getting trampled and ultimately erased," she said at the time at the Heritage Foundation, during the "Biology Isn't Bigotry" discussion.

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