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Why campaigners say no to sex self-ID

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Fair Play For Women, report, single sex services, violence against women and girls, sex self-ID, Access to male-free services is essential: a woman’s trauma response doesn’t care how someone identifies.

The UK government is currently asking the public whether it should expand the terms of the Gender Recognition Act in ways that would allow any male who says he feels he is a woman to gain a female birth certificate – on demand.

This has considerable knock-on consequences for female-only services.

In 2017, one woman in the UK was killed by male violence on average every 2.5 days.

1 in 5 women aged 16-59 have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.

31 per cent of young women aged 18-24 report having experienced sexual abuse in childhood.

Access to male-free services is essential for women’s recovery and their physical and mental health.

A woman’s trauma response doesn’t care how someone identifies.

A woman who has had a male towering over and threatening her, been battered by a male fist, been throttled by a male grip or humiliated by a male voice, knows exactly who is male and who is female. Her survival depends on it.

And being able to speak the truth about what happened to her, name her experience and trust her instincts is integral to her recovery.

Fair Play For Women, a campaign group who for a range of reasons do not support allowing a change to the law that would permit sex self-identification, have recently published research revealing that women who run and use refuges and shelters are deeply worried that laws meant to help transgender people will make it easier for abusive men to enter shelters intending to offer protection to women escaping abuse.

Their research also revealed a widespread silencing of any and all discussion about self-identification policies and reform of the Gender Recognition Act that affect the provision of services for victims of violence and abuse.

Professionals they spoke to said that existing systems for assessing the risk posed to users and staff by a potential new service-user are already limited and imperfect. Allowing anyone who identifies themselves as a woman – and preventing any questioning of that identification – to access ‘women-only’ services will render those safeguards wholly ineffective.

And, the research says, survivors’ concerns have been dismissed: women have been told to accept a male interpretation of reality.

Protecting the principle of female-only services is one of many reasons why it is so urgent for everyone who cares about women and girls to fill out the UK government’s consultation on changing the Gender Recognition Act before the deadline of 19 October 2018.

You can fill out the government consultation on Sex Self-ID via Fair Play For Women’s website, where you can find helpful guidance.

The website also has information about how to get involved in Fair Play For Women’s campaign to inform the public about the top-down changes that may happen.

To read the full report, click here.

Fair Play For Women is an apolitical group of ordinary people from all walks of life who have come together to fight for women’s and girls’ rights, and fully supports the right of trans people to live free of fear and discrimination just the same as everyone else. However Fair Play For Women. like others campaigning on this issue, also believes trans rights should not come at the expense of women’s rights.

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