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Note: This thread is related to #COVID19.
Tim Shipman's Sunday Times report concerning Gender Recognition Act Reform being scrapped has a lot of people worried...and a lot more missing the key takeaways from this and not being concerned enough. So here we are to break it down. THREAD TIME.
The lead on this isn't GRA reform is being scrapped. This is something we have all worked out over the last few months. The lead here are the following two sentences from the report (that they want to stop trans women using women's facilities and they will attempt to legislate)
If this is report is accurate (will get to that below), this means the UK Government intends to attempt to pass a US-style bathroom bill right here. No specifics are in the report on if this means a change in the equality act or what (again, will go into this further down).
What in the blue fuck does that mean? What has she done? Does anyone know? How could she have made it harder for doctors to sign off? No minister has that power currently. How did she do this? Did she do this? What does this mean? Seriously, anyone got any insight on this?
There is also mention of the government cracking down on "Quack hippy doctors" who are apparently giving out their sign off without a seconds thought. Who? Are they talking about any of the number of private practitioners who see trans patients?
Take away from this: if this report is true, then this almost certainly means the government want to make getting doctors to sign off on our identities even harder than it already is. Been immersed in trans stuff for a decade, never heard of these "quacks" operating.
Regardless, if this report is true, all these things would be the biggest rollback of civil rights the UK has seen in decades. You should take this very fucking seriously and get ready for a fight.
We don't have the luxury to brush this aside as the Sunday Times doing what the Sunday Times do. This is not an Andrew Gilligan/Janice Turner goblin job. When they wrote/write for the Times or Sunday Times, their agenda is clear. Shipman is not like them.
Tim Shipman is the political editor of the Sunday Times and he spends a hell of a lot of time in Downing Street. Also, he is not a hack. He is the one who broke a string of stories in the Times about how racist/Liar/PM Johnson shit the bed on Covid-19.
(Total speculation, but for those who don't know, Andrew Gilligan used to be the chief transphobe at the Sunday Times before becoming a "special advisor" to Boris Johnson. If he turned out to be the source, wouldn't be surprised at all. Former colleagues, both in Downing St...)
Shipman, however, has barely covered trans issues, and when he has, he both sided it as BBC News does. He doesn't have a dog in this fight (might be wrong, please correct us) and have no reason to believe he would lie. At least, what he was told, he believes is true.
Panic is not the right response either because there is so much that can happen between now and when this gets announced next month. There is a lot that can happen in Parliament, and we can fight this. But don't make the mistake of brushing this aside.
The UK Government and their party are full to the brim with people who want this to happen. Their base, the people who give them money and the people who vote for them no matter what, want this to happen.
Take this seriously.
The story here isn't GRA reform being binned. The real story is a potential ban on trans people using the facilities most appropriate, whatever the hell Liz Truss has done to make getting healthcare harder for young people and that they could be targeting doctors they don't like.
Take it seriously. We do not have the luxury to not. But do not fall into horror, fear or any of that either. Get ready for a fight that, if we are lucky, may never come.
And don't stop helping Black Lives Matter. You can focus on both. Don't just forget about BLM!
The truly scary thing is that, in theory, the Government could do much of these things without passing new legislation. Organisations, charities, others who rely on the government and the EHRC to offer guidance on enforcement of the equality act could well be advised...
...that keeping a single-sex space free of trans people could be seen as legitimate under the current wording of the equality act. Let's look at the wording in the law and the wording of EHRC guidance on this as it currently stands. Here is the exemptions from the equality act.
Guidance issued by the EHRC: "Where a transsexual person is visually and for all practical purposes indistinguishable from someone of their preferred gender, they should normally be treated according to their acquired gender unless there are strong reasons not to do so"
Essentially, the equality act allows discrimination against trans people when it comes to single-sex spaces as long as the discrimination is the only way, and is a "proportionate means to achieving a legitimate aim". But the guidance essentially says that...
...if a trans person is visually and practically indistinguishable from a cisgender person, they should be treated according to their "acquired" gender.
In theory, there is nothing stopping Truss from issuing new guidance that makes it...
... absolutely fine to discriminate against trans people that fail the eyeball test. That the legitimate aim is to keep people who look trans out of certain spaces in society.
No lawyers here. But this argument could be made based on the wording of the equality act.
This legislation Shipman refers to in his report, based on this, maybe worded in a way that does not conflict with INTERPRETATIONS of the language of the equality act. Guidance issued separately, without needing a vote, could reflect this interpretation.
The point is that the government could actually do this. It may not hold up in court, but before it can get there (if anyone even has the cash to take this to court), it could be months. Possibly years.
Take. This. Seriously.
Do. Not. Panic.
Do. Not. Fall. Into. Despair.
Prepare to fight.
Do not assume this won't happen.
They have the means, the votes and the will.
Prepare to fight.
And don't you dare forget about Black Lives Matter.
You can do both.
You can follow @WhatTheTrans.
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