Girl, 14, takes on prosecution service over ‘pro-trans bias’ The Times 16.05.20

The original article is here.

A teenage girl has threatened the Crown Prosecution Service with legal action over its alleged bias about transgender issues.

Lawyers for the 14-year-old have told the CPS that it must pull out of a “diversity champions” programme run by the charity Stonewall, which campaigns for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.

The campaign group gives diversity awards to employers who support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender staff members and expects them to do so “beyond” the workplace, encouraging members to be “advocates and agents of positive change”.

A pre-action letter issued by the girl’s lawyers said the CPS’s association with Stonewall put it in breach of the law by failing to show impartiality on transgender rights.

Stonewall believes that gender identity should be treated as a protected characteristic and therefore carry legal protection under Equalities Act 2010.

The girl, who cannot be named, has already forced the CPS to withdraw guidance for schools on transgender bullying when she threatened legal action. She had argued that it failed to take into account her rights and meant that she would be at risk of prosecution for a hate crime if she asked a biological male who identified as transgender to leave a women’s lavatory, or if she joined a feminist campaign group that challenged transgender rights.

The new case concerns the CPS’s promise of an internal review of the guidance, which the girl’s lawyers said is based on a misrepresentation of the law that reflects Stonewall’s campaigning position. The case could have far-reaching implications for dozens of Whitehall departments and other public bodies who are members of Stonewall’s scheme.

The girl said: “I do not believe the CPS can be fair as they are listening to Stonewall, who are misrepresenting what the law says about my rights to female-only spaces. I do not trust them to focus on the safety, privacy and dignity of girls, or to balance the rights of all young people in schools.”

The CPS guidance talked about incidents that should be treated more seriously if hatred could be shown to be motivated by hostility to a person’s transgender identity. This motivation, if proven, should be taken into account by a judge or magistrate at sentencing. The girl’s lawyers said that this went beyond the Equalities Act 2010.

Gender reassignment is a medical and legal process and self-identification of gender is a disputed concept.

The girl’s case is supported by Safe Schools Alliance UK, a parents’ group that has challenged transgender policies issued by public bodies.

Tanya Carter, from the alliance, said: “All policies must be legally compliant and free of political ideology. This regulatory capture cannot be allowed to continue.”

A spokesman for Stonewall said: “The diversity champions programme supports organisations to make their workplaces more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. This work is absolutely vital as more than a third of LGBT staff, 35 per cent, hide who they are at work while one in five, 18 per cent, have been the target of negative comments because they’re LGBT. We’re proud to work with so many different organisations who want to create spaces where every LGBT person is accepted for who they are.”

The CPS declined to comment, saying only that it would respond to the pre-action letter in due course.

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