As a trans person who specialises in inclusion and diversity, the current media storm that has been stirred up against Stonewall is yet another worrying sign that there is a targeted campaign against trans and non-binary inclusion in multiple sectors in the U.K. Stonewall’s response to the claims against them can be read here.
The debate about Stonewall centres on the question of whether or not the Equality Act (2010) includes protection of people who hold trans identities. Whilst I am not a lawyer, it is clear that a plain text reading of the Equality Act (2010) section 7 includes a wide range of trans people, referencing intention as well as process. This is woolly language for a legal act, and could certainly be improved, but that does not nullify it for the time-being1.
Stonewall’s opposers would clearly like the protection of the Equality Act to only extend to those who have undergone a physical process of genital surgery. Thankfully, this is not the case. Many trans and non-binary people do not undergo surgery, for a range of reasons. We, too, are valid. Further, the safeguarding concerns raised by the implicit suggestion that a person’s genitals must be checked in order to allow equality are extensive!
I am one of the many inclusion and diversity specialists who provide content and run training that focuses on the equality of all people in the workplace, including those who are at risk of marginalisation or discrimination as a result of their age, disability, neurodiversity, mental health, gender identity, sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, faith, belief, and/or sexual/romantic identity. This expansive understanding of equality legislation and best practice is not only lawful, it is vital.
The whole field of inclusion and diversity is deeply needed and it is much of this field, not only one organisation, whose practice is under attack. Please support us to offer content and training that is based on evidence and fact, and that recognises diversity, complexity, and intersectionality.
1The Act refers to protection ‘if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex’ and references ‘physiological or other attributes of sex’ (Equality Act 2010, 7(a). ‘Other attributes’ suggests processes of social transition. ‘Proposing to undergo’ is a reference to intent, which is incredibly difficult to prove.