Write to your MP in support of Lesbians, using our template letter!


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

Template letter:

Dear Sir/Madam,

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.

Yours Sincerely,

Your constituent

Why Therapy is Crucial for Dysphoric Girls – A letter to Marsha de Cordova

Today we write to Marsha de Cordova, shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, to express our concern with the standard of care for young dysphoric girls in the UK and to stress the importance of therapeutic practice in their treatment.

Dear Marsha,

We are concerned at the answer you received to your recent parliamentary question regarding surgery for transmen. Hopefully the minister’s answer will satisfy transmen that their needs are being taken seriously and the deficit in provision is being addressed. However, whilst we can appreciate the frustration of those on interminable waiting lists who have elected to have surgery we were alarmed to hear how far this experimental surgery has been accepted into mainstream.

Prof Robert Winston described the phalloplasty procedure as experimental butchery. A large international study published this year reinforces this view, exposing high complication rates, surgical revisions and poor mental health outcomes. Therefore, we believe that a pause in developments until the Cass review has been completed is imperative to prevent more girls taking irreversible medical routes in haste and without the full picture, which they may later regret.

This is of concern to us as Lesbians because a significant proportion of the 4000% increase in girls presenting with Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) are gender non-conforming girls who, left to mature naturally would settle into same-sex attraction. Instead, now there are huge pressures on these girls to identify out of Lesbianism. They meet two powerful obstacles:

  1. The heteronormative assumption that only opposite sex attraction is valid, normal and acceptable. Therefore if they are sexually attracted to women they must be a man. This transing of Lesbians is deeply homophobic.
  2. Societal expectations that women and girls should behave and dress in a certain manner, under a very real threat of harassment/corrective rape.

For these girls to hear about advances in medical science that could turn them more “convincingly” into a “boy” can seem like a perfect solution to their struggles with sexuality and misogyny. However, the true reality of such lifelong medicalisation rarely lives up to these expectations. This is reflected in the growing numbers of detransition groups such as Post Trans, the Detransitioner’s Advocacy Network and The Pique Resilience Project. Internalised homophobia and sexism as well as comorbid conditions are commonly reported among detransitioners, which exposes the dearth of rigorous psychological support and assessment prior to medical transition.

We would therefore like to propose a follow-up question to inquire what provision there is to fund adequate counselling for those seeking gender reassignment treatment.

We feel certain that the Keira Bell case and the concerns raised about the lack of appropriate counselling at the Tavistock clinic are only the tip of the litigious iceberg.

I hope you find this information useful.

Comradely greetings,

Lesbian Labour

It could have been me

In September 2017 I considered going down to London to attend a meeting. It was about the potential impact on Women and Girls if the definition of Woman were to be changed from “the adult human female of our dimorphic species” to “anyone who feels like a woman”. This would include men – adult human males.

I had concerns about the safeguarding issues this would present, and concerns for survivors of male violence who needed Women-only spaces in which to heal and be safe. I also had personal experience of being part of a regular Women-only event. It had become unviable to keep it Women-only when existing single-sex exemptions provided in the 2010 Equality Act proved to be unworkable. I had a diary clash I was unable to change, so in the end I didn’t go to the London meeting.

Hounded out of the venue
The talk – ‘What is Gender? The Gender Recognition Act and Beyond‘ – was the first of a series being held across the UK. Like others I knew of, it turned out that this one was left without a venue. Those opposed to these meetings had put pressure on the venue – which, concerned for the safety of its staff, had cancelled the event. The attendees were instructed to gather at Speaker’s Corner – that symbol of Free Speech – and await information about an alternative venue.

We are all Maria
Maria, a woman my age, was taking photos and video clips of the gathering when she was suddenly physically assaulted by someone who believed the meeting should not take place. That could have been me. A 61-year-old Woman, waiting to attend a meeting. That made it personal. That made it my fight. A real “We are all Maria” moment.

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