Mumsnet Law

Anti-trans campaigners have a peculiar interpretation of the Equality Act. Trans people are entitled to protection from discrimination, but for the anti-trans campaigners that only means no-one is entitled to treat you badly on the grounds that you are a “man”, as they would put it, presenting female or a “woman” presenting male. On transition, trans women, or “trans identified males”, are not entitled to use women’s services because these are described in the Equality Act as “single-sex” or “separate sex” services (schedule 3, paragraphs 26 and 27).

After two years and a diagnosis, you might get your gender recognition certificate, where your gender is declared on the certificate and, unfortunately for Mumsnet lawyers, your sex is also changed by s9 of the Gender Recognition Act. So, for them, the purpose of the Equality Act, schedule 3, paragraph 28 is to allow you to be still excluded from all women’s services. The legitimate aim is to alleviate the distress of cis women who see you there. So, after exclusion, you would have to produce your GRC to show you could not be excluded under paragraphs 26 or 27, and you would still lose a discrimination claim because of paragraph 28.

For the die-hards, the dismissal at a preliminary hearing of Ann Sinnott’s case does not change this. The EHRC guidelines said that trans women could be excluded from women’s services. When trans women go into women’s services, that goes back to tolerance, or that nobody bothers to exclude us, as it was before 2010. A cis woman service user might try a human rights case on her right to privacy if the service provider did not exclude us.

Of course I look at this from the perspective of a trans woman, and am horrified. Could a judge ever accept it? They could say that the plain meaning of the words “single-sex” and “separate sex” requires it. I don’t think that was the intention of the Act. It gives the heading “gender reassignment” then defines a “transsexual person”, who is “a person who has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment”- from the moment we decide to transition. So, the Equality Act confuses gender and sex and does not make the distinction the Mumsnet lawyers make.

Fortunately Sinnott’s case shows that excluding a trans woman from women’s services is indirect discrimination.

Now I consider the concession made by Karon Monaghan, QC for the trans-excluders in the case of FDJ, the recent case on trans women in women’s prisons. The judge said, “As Ms Monaghan QC on behalf of the Claimant pointed out, the relevant legislation (to which I will refer later in this judgment) [including the Equality Act] tends to use the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ interchangeably”. So, under the Equality Act, my sex and gender are both female, from the date that Act was enacted or the date I decided to transition, whichever is the earlier. Otherwise, the trans women in women’s prisons described in that case would simply be transferred to men’s prisons, as they do not have GRCs.

There appears to be unlimited money available for cases against trans rights. I feel it is like Donald Trump’s cases against the 2020 election- useless legal action designed to provide cover for his social media campaign. The radicalisation, the fundraising and the legal actions have the aim of increasing hate, even if the cases mostly fail or are irrelevant. If people believe, however disingenuously, that they have the right to complain about trans women using women’s services, they will.

7 thoughts on “Mumsnet Law

    • Well, yes. But that does not stop them assuring themselves of it in the places where they radicalise. They stretch the meaning of cases beyond recognition: I was debating with one who wrote, “The Forstater EAT said that her view that there is a distinction [between gender and sex] is consistent with current UK law”. It would take hundreds of words to unpack all the stupid in that comment, but it makes her feel righteous.


  1. It all feels a bit of a mess and not very well thought out, IMO. I mean, where do trans men go? Are they banned from the gents’ but allowed in female only spaces because of their assigned gender at birth?

    People talk about the risk of violence towards women and yet a minority talk about putting women into male spaces where safety would be an issue.

    I can’t help but feel this helps no one.


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