Can’t we all have a view on spaces for women? Janice Turner, The Times 30.05.19

The original article is here.

What if a local council held a public consultation asking people to fill in questionnaires on a controversial policy but, when results were counted, it declared almost half the responses were “invalid”. Wouldn’t politicians ask questions, reporters investigate whether the outcome was, well, a bit fishy? Apparently not.

The City of London Corporation, a rather opaque body which governs the Square Mile, announced recently there was overwhelming support for the single-sex female spaces it controls — notably Hampstead Heath ladies’ pond but also many changing facilities and toilets — to be open to anyone who self-identifies as a woman. Less prominent was the fact that of 40,000 responses to its survey, 19,000 were disregarded.

What appears to have happened, although pending FOI requests we can’t be certain, is that any response which challenged the ideologically loaded language of the questions was discarded. The survey referred to a person’s “gender assigned at birth” rather than biological sex. This may sound abstruse but it reduces whether a person is a man or woman to an inner feeling, ignoring physical reality. People who dispute this term are naturally those who believe single-sex spaces are essential for safety and privacy — and these apparently were the responses binned.

So who championed this change? Edward Lord, a bearded freemason with a female partner who nonetheless is “non-binary” and demands to be addressed by the pronoun “they”. Curiously Lord, who doesn’t believe sex exists, remains a member of a men-only lodge, despite lamenting its “arbitrary gender segregation”.

Legal challenges on whether the City of London breaches the 2010 Equality Act (in which sex, not gender, is a protected characteristic) are under way. So perhaps we’ll discover why a “democratic” exercise seems anything but.


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