People are angry at the Guardian’s view on gender recognition. Here’s how they’re fighting back.

Guardian headline that reads: 'The Guardian view on the Gender Recognition Act: where rights collide: Editorial'
John Shafthauer

The Guardian‘s view on the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) has been described as “bewildering and misinformed”. Critics of the piece include women who’ve written for the paper. But there’s something we can all do to show solidarity with trans people. The government consultation on the GRA is running until this Friday, and we should all fill it out.

The Guardian view

The piece represent’s the ‘Guardian‘s view’ on the topic. It discusses the consultation on changing the Gender Recognition Act 2004:

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It talks about not taking a stance:

The debate has become toxic, with trans rights activists and some feminist campaigners taking opposing sides.

The Guardian rejects the idea that one of these positions is the right one – and the other wrong… Neither group is a homogeneous bloc and there are more than two points of view.

Several people think that the Guardian has taken a stance, however, by the way it presented the information. Among them are trans women who’ve written for the paper:

Equality

People are criticising the piece for allegedly suggesting it will undo protections in the Equality Act 2010:

The consultation on the Gender Recognition Act reads:

The consultation focuses on the Gender Recognition Act 2004. We are not proposing any amendments to the Equality Act 2010.

The feminist academics Lorna Finlayson, Katharine Jenkins, and Rosie Worsdale explained the issue in detail for Verso:

The first problem with the argument is that although it has repeatedly been presented as a response to the GRA consultation, in fact it has almost nothing to do with it. This is because the proposed changes to the GRA will have very little effect on whether and when trans people are able to access single-sex facilities and services. The current law, the Equality Act of 2010, already allows trans people to use the facilities and services that best align with their gender identity in almost all cases. This entitlement does not depend on having a GRC or on having received any particular medical treatment. The Equality Act does allow for trans people to be excluded from certain services in a limited range of cases where this can be shown to be ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’. Again, this provision applies to all trans people including those who hold a GRC.

What all of this means is that access to single-sex facilities and services is already governed by a principle of self-ID in almost all cases.

Backlash

In line with the above argument, some have suggested the Guardian view doesn’t even cover the topic it’s supposed to be discussing:

There’s also been criticism of some terminology used. Gay Star News wrote:

While The Guardian says it ‘supports trans equality and believes reform of the law could form part of this’, it also perpetuates harmful stereotypes about transgender people.

Namely, in the article, the editorial team acknowledges dangerous myths about the concerns of ‘male-bodied people’ and not recognizing trans women as real women.

The Guardian piece does acknowledge that only ‘some feminists’ oppose the GRA. Despite that, it doesn’t do anything to highlight that some of its strongest supporters are feminists and cis women:

Support trans rights

The consultation on the GRA ends on Friday 19 October. People are encouraging everyone who supports trans rights to fill it out now:

If you haven’t completed the survey yet, put aside five minutes between now and tomorrow to do so. You can access it here.

Getting involved is how people are fighting back against the “relentless media campaign against trans people”. So fill it in, and show solidarity against the onslaught.

Get Involved!

– Fill out the consultation here.

– Share the consultation on Facebook and Twitter.

– Ask your friends to do the same.

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

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