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Stonewall was founded in 1989 to fight for the civil rights of gay, lesbian and bisexual people. It has played a leading role in advancing these rights, from the abolition of Margaret Thatcher’s hated Section 28, to securing an equal age of consent, civil partnerships and gay marriage.
Since 2015, Stonewall has also campaigned on trans issues. We believe the organisation has made mistakes in its approach. These mistakes are undermining women’s sex-based rights and protections, and damaging the relationship between transsexual people and women - a relationship which had been positive for many years.
On Oct 19th the Government’s public consultation on proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act closes, so it is important that there should be debates amongst us all about transgender politics and the rights of women and girls. Stonewall disagrees and calls debate on this matter of public policy transphobic.
Stonewall’s promotion of the concept of 'gender identity’, which has it that a man or woman is anyone (of either sex) who identifies as such, is also undermining the basis of lesbian, gay and bisexual identities as orientated around same-sex attraction. Lesbians in particular are coming under pressure to accept male-bodied trans women into their spaces and as sexual partners.
At the moment, Stonewall is failing in three key ways:
- By uncritically adopting a form of transgender politics which undermines the sex-based rights of women and the concept of homosexuality itself
- By refusing to recognise the diversity of viewpoints on these issues, including among LGBT people.
- By seeking to prevent public debate of these issues by branding as transphobic anyone who questions Stonewall’s current trans policies.
We call on Stonewall to:
- Acknowledge that there are a range of valid viewpoints around sex, gender and transgender politics
- Acknowledge specifically the conflict that exists between transgenderism and sex-based women’s rights
- Commit to fostering an atmosphere of respectful debate, rather than demonising as transphobic those who wish to discuss or dissent from Stonewall’s current policies
Founding signatories, in alphabetical order:
Venice Allan, privately prosecuted for live-streaming Linda Bellos OBE
Frances Barber, actor
Jonathan Best, former director of Queer Up North International Festival
Julie Bindel, journalist and feminist campaigner
Paul Burston, author
Maureen Chadwick, screenwriter
Beatrix Cambell OBE, writer
Hannah Clarke, co-founder of ManFriday
Rachael Dartnell & Louise Paine, co-founders of Let A Woman Speak
Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of Transgender Trend
James Dreyfus, actor
Simon Edge, former editor of Capital Gay and writer for Attitude
Eileen Gallagher OBE, television producer
Claire Graham, intersex advocate
Darren Johnson, London Assembly Member 2000-2016
Dr. Jane Clare Jones, writer and philosopher
Judith Green, co-founder Woman's Place UK
Kate Harris, former Stonewall supporter
Jane Harris, author
Kristina Harrison, socialist campaigner and transwoman
Philip Hensher, author
Graham Linehan, writer
Ann McManus, screenwriter
Rose of Dawn, social commentator and transsexual
Anne Ruzylo, feminist activists and ex-Prison Service
Gita Sahgal, founder of the Centre for Secular Space
Ruth Serwotka, Co-Founder Woman's Place UK
Ann Sinnott, former Labour councillor
Kathleen Stock, philosopher
Professor Sophie Scott, cognitive neuroscientist
Caroline Spry, television producer
Helen Watts, former leader at Girlguiding UK
Nicola Williams, director of Fair Play For Women
Miranda Yardley, transsexual rights activist