The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s response to the UK Government’s
Consultation on conversion therapy and its letter to the Scottish Government about
reform of the Gender Recognition Act are a breath of fresh air.
The Commission has called for careful and respectful discussion of potential changes to
the law and asked all Governments to take the time needed to ensure that definitions are
clear, and that the policy is evidence-based.
The EHRC’s mandate is to challenge discrimination, and to protect and promote
everyone’s human rights. LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) and women’s grassroots
organisations have for the last few years been raising alarm at policies, advocated by
gender identity activists, which only recognise the rights of one group.
Protecting human rights often means balancing the interests of people with different
protected characteristics. Legislators and regulators must listen to the views of all and
not favour a particular lobby or allow one group’s interests to destroy the rights of others.
As the EHRC have stated, the established legal concept of sex is a critical underpinning
to all our rights; including those of LGB people, women and people who identify as
The EHRC has clearly listened to our voices. For this we thank the Commission. For our
part we will continue to lobby all Governments to focus on what any good law requires –
open debate, broad consultation, human rights impact assessments, clear language and
proper regard for evidence.