Parliament debates blocking Gender Recognition Reform

“Transgender people deserve our respect, our support and our understanding.” Alister Jack and the Tory government proceeded to give us their contempt, gaslighting and othering. He made the most blatantly hypocritical statement in the debate:

“We need to take the heat out of this debate. We are dealing with a reduction in safeguards for women and children.”

No, he was talking about demonising trans people. Stewart Hosie said he should apologise to us. Instead, Stephen Flynn, leader of the SNP at Westminster, made “an apology to those people… who have hopes and aspirations for the future and who have fought so hard for a piece of legislation for so long and now see their hope being taken away from them.”

There are three debates recorded in Hansard: the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, gave a statement saying he would block the GRR Bill, then Stephen Flynn, leader of the SNP at Westminster, requested an emergency debate, then there was that emergency debate.

It is full of transphobia. If you just watch one MP, watch or read Kirsty Blackman, SNP putting the trans ally case clearly and eloquently.

She says they are a room of privileged cis people discussing trans people, and apologises that we had the hope of getting a fair procedure for a GRC and the government has dashed it. She points out the Government does not protect women and girls when it comes to refugees or the Rape clause of universal credit. Then she explains, for the ignorant Tories, that a GRC does not affect access to single-sex spaces.

This is two debates in one. The Shadow Scottish secretary, Ian Murray, spoke about the constitutional issue. Can the government block a Scottish Bill? He said it can in theory, but the Tories in Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood should instead negotiate a Bill both can accept. Not his circus, not his monkeys. Many MPs addressed that. Others talked on trans, some in ignorance hate and fearmongering, some with decency and compassion.

Little is new, after so many years of debates, but the transphobes go further. Kirsten Oswald spoke of other countries with self-declaration: “This is not groundbreaking stuff. It is inconceivable that there is good reason for us to argue about it.”

Some comic moments now, from Nick Fletcher, Parliament’s stupidest transphobe. Charlotte Nichols, Labour, said, “I remember being in a Westminster Hall debate with him when he said that Dr Who being a woman was turning boys gay, among other ridiculous arguments.” Pompous little Fletcher rose in umbrage.

Fletcher: That is not what I said! Withdraw! Hansard will show that it is not-
Deputy speaker: Order. No; the hon. Gentleman must resume his seat.
Fletcher: that is an outright lie.
Deputy speaker: No, no; the hon. Gentleman must qualify that. I think he meant that the hon. Lady may have unintentionally misled the House.

Charlotte Nichols: On checking Hansard, I see that the hon. Member actually said that Dr Who being a woman was turning boys towards a life of crime. Clearly, it was a matter of misogyny rather than homophobia.

She then sums up what the government is doing: pursuing culture war to distract from the disaster of the economy and public services: “I declare an interest as an LGBT woman—as someone who is myself LGBT and exists—something that has been forgotten entirely in this debate by people who are trying to draw a false distinction between the rights of women and the rights of LGBT people, including trans people.”

More of Fletcher. “There may have been six years of consultation and many experts may have gone through this, but unfortunately there has been no common sense.” All the experts and consultations are wrong: only Fletcher has “common sense”. The poor bewildered transphobe cannot believe that anyone would see things differently from him. He said the Secretary of State would “protect women and children in England”, as if he does not know the Equality Act applies in Scotland too. Of course, it is not about protecting women and children.

There is little else to laugh at. After Ian Blackford said “The only way that we can protect our Parliament is by Scotland becoming independent,” the Secretary of State said, “I have just won a £10 note.”

The roll of honour of trans allies: Labour: Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Ben Bradshaw, Hilary Benn, Olivia Blake, Nadia Whittome, Sir Chris Bryant, Charlotte Nichols. SNP: Mhairi Black, Alison Thewliss, Hannah Bardell, Stewart Malcolm McDonald, Kirsty Blackman, Stewart Hosie, Kirsten Oswald, Angela Crawley, Stuart C McDonald, Peter Grant, Stephen Flynn, Ian Blackford, Alan Brown. Lib Dem: Christine Jardine. Plaid Cymru: Liz Saville Roberts. Alliance: Stephen Farry.

Jamie Wallis did not speak, so the only trans voice was Alison Thewlis quoting her constituent Mackenzie: “I did not choose to be trans. I did not choose to have my rights taken away, and I certainly did not choose to have my life up for debate from people who don’t even know or empathise with my community.” This is what I would say: I am trans, and I have chosen to manifest my true self. I reject the lies and fearmongering. I stand in solidarity with vulnerable women and girls, and am grateful for LGB folk standing with me. Hannah Bardell said, “when I came out I did not have to seek verification from anybody to be a lesbian.”

There was justified contempt. Stephen Flynn spoke of the “Rabid gammon on the Conservative benches”.

Hilary Benn pointed out the flaw in the Tory scheme: “In evoking section 35, the Secretary of State argues that this would have serious adverse impacts on the operation of the Equality Act. Can he explain why the same certificate issued under the Equality Act 2004 does not have those adverse impacts?” Jack said he wanted to avoid “conflicting” processes either side of the border, which he has no power to do. That is the point of devolution, to differ when circumstances or opinions are different.

Olivia Blake said Westminster should follow Scotland and reform the GRA. “the only reason we are here is because of the Government’s failure to listen to their own consultation and the 100,000 people responding to it, and because the Government are using trans people as a political football, for example by leaving them out of a conversion therapy ban until—conveniently—this week?”

No Tory spoke for trans rights. Alicia Kearns, a strong ally on conversion therapy, challenged Lloyd Russell-Moyle calling Miriam Cates “transphobic”. More on Cates later.

Christine Jardine said, “I asked the Secretary of State whether he could point out the section of the Bill that undermines my rights as a woman, my daughter’s rights as a woman or the rights of all the women I know and the children I know. He did not do so.” Holyrood “has made progress towards a society where [trans] people feel respected, honoured and treasured in a way that, perhaps, they did not before.”

I don’t really like being called “vulnerable”. I can stand up for myself. In 30,000 words of debate, “vulnerable” appeared 13 times: 4 MPs called us vulnerable. The other uses were by transphobes, calling us and our rights a threat to vulnerable women and children. That is an incitement to hatred and violence against us, and the transphobes- including Labour MPs- should be ashamed. Accusations of “weaponizing” flew back and forth: the Tories have weaponised trans rights against progressive parties, but accused the SNP of doing the weaponizing.

The transphobes are getting worse. This is the most offensive content, talking of child sex offenders. You are warned:

Rachel Maclean linked GRR to “the desperate need for women and girls to be protected from grooming gangs, predators and sex offenders, I know that having protections for them to access those single-sex based services-“ at this Lloyd Russell-Moyle interrupted. The US Republican habit of calling anyone LGBT “groomers” has spread to the Tory party. Miriam Cates said “predators will exploit any loophole that they can find to get access to children, and I am afraid that that is what will happen with the Bill. We should not be asking how easy it is for someone who is uncomfortable with their sex to obtain a GRC; we should be asking how easy it is for a predator to get access to children.”

Cates’ phrase is chilling. “Someone who is uncomfortable with their sex”- I would put it positively. I am comfortable as Clare. She does not believe trans people exist. We are simply deluded, to her.

What next? The Secretary of State has to draft and “table” his statutory instrument blocking the GRR Bill. Then the SNP can make a motion to negate it. Ian Murray said the most defeatist thing an opposition MP could, that anyone who moves such a motion “will get a debate and a vote, but the vote is not going to be won”. If the shadow cabinet thinks they might as well go home, maybe they should. I want the truth stated and the arguments put, and the Tories forced to vote for their shameful transphobic hate. I want Labour to stand up for its own Devolution settlement, the Union, and trans rights, by opposing the Order.

Then, the Scottish government can seek judicial review in the Court of Session. The case will probably reach the Supreme Court. There will be a delay of months.

10 thoughts on “Parliament debates blocking Gender Recognition Reform

  1. ❤️ I thinking is very dangerous and idiotic even to distinguish rights between humans at all. We should all have same the right to be and exist, and for safety and protection. As long as we are not violent towards one another. From such ”humanity” we need to be protected. By law. ” the danger is, it is we, as humans who make the laws and rules within the groups and societys we live in. And those seem to vobble down into quite inhumane things as far as I can see in the world right now. Some sort of devolution where we in many areas are destroying ourselves and our planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find the transphobic rhetoric of many legislators in both the UK and the US absolutely appalling. How can people be so hateful? Do they really represent their constituents on this matter? If so then perhaps the level of hatred has gone too far for any reconciliation. It doesn’t have to be that way. The evidence in support of gender self ID is so overwhelming that any body of reasonable minded people would quickly reach the same conclusion as did the NZ parliament, which unanimously passed gender self ID legislation.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m grateful to find so may fellow trans allies in the opposition parties. Couldn’t view the whited-out bit on phone with select.. perhaps on computer, but now not sure l want to as you’ve never done that before – did anyone oppose that vitriol?


  4. Britain is far worse than my own country of Canada who doesn’t see trans people as bathroom predators. Hence they are more akin to the US and Scotland would do well to uncouple themselves from the troglodyte mindset which people like JK Rowling are only too happy to trumpet.

    Liked by 1 person

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