On the 12th of June, Parliament will hold a debate in response to a petition signed by over 100,000 people, requesting a clarification to the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristic of Sex. Organised by Sex-Matters.org, the petition seeks clarification that Sex in law refers to biological sex and does not include the legal fiction conferred by a gender recognition certificate. This is important for women but especially so for Lesbians, since our same-sex attraction (and its protection thereof) is contingent on sex in law meaning biological sex.
We are concerned that this message will be forgotten in the debate since few are aware that Stonewall, and other large organisations that supposedly speak for Lesbians, now define sexual orientation as same-gender orientation!
Please copy our template letter text below to write to your MP ahead of the debate to bring this to their attention. Do feel free to add your own personal touches. You can find out who your MP is and how to contact them by clicking here
I write to you as your constituent to draw your attention to an upcoming debate in Westminster Hall on the 12th of June at 4.30 pm, scheduled as a result of a petition, to clarify the definition of the protected characteristic of sex as it appears in the Equality Act 2010. The petition, which was organised by the organisation Sex Matters, attracted more than 100,000 signatories. A counter petition which also reached the debate threshold will be debated at the same time, indicating how many people are concerned about this issue.
The Equality Act defines nine protected characteristics which are all given equal weighting in terms of protection in the law (disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, maternity and pregnancy, religion or belief, race, gender reassignment and marriage or civil partnership).
The importance of sex as a protected characteristic, particularly to women and girls, cannot be overstated. However there is currently a great deal of confusion whether ‘sex’ in law means biological sex solely, or including sex as modified by a Gender Recognition Certificate – which describes the status of transgender people who hold a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Clarification will allow for the provision of clear and lawful single-sex services, in scenarios in which sex is the more relevant classifier and not gender. Examples of services or provisions in which sex is a more appropriate classifier than gender is in medical settings or sport. Transgender people are of course protected under the category of gender reassignment, as they rightly should be from any form of discrimination.
The protected characteristic of sexual orientation however is also contingent on the definition of sex as meaning biological, and it is for this reason that I write to you. Lesbian, Gay men and bisexual people all experience same-sex attraction, that is, attraction based upon biological sex, not gender. Gender is not relevant to sexual attraction.
Stonewall has in recent years quietly modified their definition of homosexuality to centre around gender, and not sex. Since they also explicitly include “cross-dressers” under their definition of transgender, this means that many males now self-define as Lesbians. Under this climate, it is impossible for Lesbians to meet and gather openly without men wishing to join or simply disrupt our events.
It is therefore not necessarily automatic that the proposed clarification of sex will protect same-sex attracted people. Lesbians , in the words of Anne Lister ,“Love and only love the fairer sex”. It is unacceptable that they should be forced to include men – indeed it is outright homophobia. Lesbians’ sexual orientation is exclusive of males as it is based upon biological sex.
I therefore urge you as my elected representative at Westminster to attend the debate and consider speaking on behalf of same-sex attracted people – to explicitly clarify the definition of sexual orientation in law to mean attraction to biological sex.