Today, Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, has pledged in a Guardian article that ‘Labour will lead on reform of transgender rights.’
At first glance, you could be fooled into thinking this is a positive intervention. For starters, Dodds has rowed back on the policy of self-ID, perhaps after seeing the chaotic collapse of the policy under the SNP in Scotland. Labour will also maintain the need for a diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’ before someone can obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate. Dodds says that the party will not seek to remove same-sex exemptions permitted under the Equality Act 2010 either.
But when you dig beneath the surface, it becomes clear that the Labour party will still push a regressive and divisive ideology should they get into power. And by attempting to back both horses, they risk alienating everyone.
In terms of the specific proposals, Labour would abolish the safeguard of having a panel of independent and anonymous doctors make decisions about Gender Recognition Certificates. Instead, Dodds says that only a single doctor, with a registrar, will be needed. She argues that this will lead to the removal of ‘invasive bureaucracy’.
But in reality this may allow applicants to go to one of the many private gender clinics in the UK and pay a few hundred quid to get a diagnosis, possibly after just a single conversation with a doctor. After they receive a certificate, they could potentially then be allowed to enter a number of women-only spaces. This undermines safeguarding.
Equally, it appears that Labour do not believe that the Equality Act 2010 should be amended to clarify that ‘sex’ means biological sex – a crucial change required to properly protect women in the UK.