‘Anti-women’ trans policy may split Stonewall The Sunday Times 22.09.19

The original article is here.

Pioneers of the gay rights movement in Britain have discussed forming a breakaway organisation from the Stonewall pressure group because they fear women and children are at risk from its transgender policy.

In a letter to The Sunday Times, 22 signatories including Simon Fanshawe, who co-founded Stonewall in 1989, said it had “undermined women’s sex-based rights and protections”. They are most worried primary school children are too quickly challenged to review their gender identity.

They state: “If Stonewall remains intransigent, there must surely now be an opening for a new organisation committed both to freedom of speech and to fact instead of fantasy.” It has the working title LGB Alliance.

Their intervention is timed to put pressure on the government as it prepares to announce the result of its review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. It is considering whether to make it easier for people to change gender.

Prominent figures in the campaign for gay and lesbian rights over the past 50 years, as well as leading feminists such as Julie Bindel, are dismayed Stonewall is supporting transgender policies they believe are harming gay people and undermining women’s rights.

In the letter, they say “the government continues to treat Stonewall as if it represents the views of progressive thinking in general, and specifically lesbian, gay [and] bisexual opinion. It does not.”

Fanshawe said: “I have never seen a feminist placard that says ‘Death to trans people’ but I have seen many placards that say ‘Death to Terfs’ [trans-exclusionary radical feminists] or ‘Punch a Terf’. The violence coming towards lesbians is completely staggering.

“If Stonewall can’t defend lesbians then we will have to look at setting up an organisation that will. A number of us are discussing that. This is heartbreaking.”

He said many rights won by women were based on their sex, or reproductive status, but Stonewall failed to recognise this: “You can’t self-ID out of female genital mutilation — that happens because you are a woman. Your access to abortion and getting pregnant — that happens because you are a woman. Stonewall has confused it with questions of social identity. And then you start to make bad law.”

Stonewall said its work to advance trans equality was “central to our goal for every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person to be accepted without exception. Trans people are currently facing horrific levels of harassment and abuse in their daily lives. It’s a situation none of us should accept.”