Youth Hostels Association allow trans guests to use female dormitories, The Times 08.10.18

The original article by Lucy Bannerman and Rosemary Bennett is here.

The Youth Hostels Association has been accused by women of quietly opening up single-sex dormitories to men who identify as women.

Guests can now choose the accommodation that matches their “gender identity”, and the words “single sex” have been replaced by “single gender” on the online booking system. Women are not told that they could be sharing with a man who identifies as female.

If a woman is not happy about the arrangements Youth Hostels Association (YHA) guidance tells staff to accommodate the transgender guest and move the woman elsewhere.

The policy has infuriated women who say that it is another example of an organisation sanctifying the rights of transgender people above their safety.

They also said that it created an opportunity for predators and was unfair on transgender guests and volunteers who would have to deal with the conflicts of interest. The YHA said that it took advice from “outside agencies”. Girlguiding also prompted outrage after its guidelines were rewritten “with assistance” from a transgender interest group. Parents said that the changes disadvantaged women and girls.

“This loopy [YHA] policy tells us that men get their own way and women have to accommodate it,” Hannah Clarke, of the Man Friday movement, which opposes the idea of people declaring their own gender, said. “It encourages women not to make a fuss and if they do stand up for themselves by setting their own boundaries, they are the ones made out to have a problem, which discourages the next person from speaking up. Some women might say, ‘Well it doesn’t bother me.’ That’s fine, but they can’t give consent for other women.”

YHA accommodation for women is typically advertised as “a female bed in shared single-gender rooms”. The YHA said that the policy had been “in use since 2016 without any concerns or complaints”. One member in her 60s, said that when she complained she was told that there had been no “significant incidents”. She said: “What do they consider significant? The YHA has always been a supportive place and a choice for single women travellers. That safe space is no longer there.”

The law does not allow people to self declare their gender. A government consultation on that closes this month.

A YHA spokesman said: “The Equalities Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on grounds of transgender status.”

On Saturday police were called to the Green Party conference in Bristol when trans-activists reported women for handing out leaflets in support of the Fair Play For Women campaign, which opposes gender self-identification.

Graham Linehan, the co-creator of Father Ted, has been given a verbal warning by police for alleged harassment after a row on Twitter with a transgender woman. Mr Linehan, 50, was told by West Yorkshire police not to contact Stephanie Hayden who had reported him for referring to her as a “he”, and for tweeting the names she used before transitioning. Ms Hayden, 45, is now suing the writer.