Gender: the EHRC explain

What they said to representatives of the LGBTQ+ community

jane fae


Picture of a startled looking man in 18th century costume holding a finger to his lips, as though suggesting others should stay silent. Caption: “Shh! The EHRC are answering questions on their attitude to trans people…”
Adapted from The Silence by Joseph Ducreux (c.1790): public domain

Yesterday, hot on the heels of publishing their anti-trans guidance to Inequalities Minister, Kemi Badenough, the EHRC met with members of the LGBTQ+ community to discuss what they were up to.

Below is an extract detailing questions asked and answers given (or in many cases not given) to TransActual Chair, Helen Belcher.

Now read on…

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Present, alongside Helen (HB) and other members of the LGBTQ+ community were Marcial Boo! (MB), Chief Executive of the EHRC, and Melanie Field (MF).

If you were wondering if the EHRC has thought stuff through, this may help you to make up your mind:

86:27 MB: I can see other hands up. I’m not sure who was first. Helen or {redacted}.

86:29 silence

86:33 MB: Helen

86:34 HB: Thanks, thanks {redacted}. What is biological sex?

86:38 8 second silence

86:46 MB: Melanie, would you like to give an answer on the basis on the law as it stands?

86:50 2 second silence

85:52 MF: Well, I would, the law as it stands doesn’t define biological sex so there is, um, you know, a definitional issue if the government wished to act on the letter, um

86:08 HB: So, sorry Melanie…

86:10 MF: Yeah

86:11 HB: So when the Secretary of State asked you about biological sex, what definition did you use?

87:19 5 second silence

87:24 MF: Um, well, what we’ve done is, is flag there is, there is a definitional issue, so I think the, um, the discussions that we’ve had have been on this on the basis that sex recorded at birth, um, is a proxy for biological sex and that’s the, um, that’s the position we’ve set out for existing guidance, um,

87:49 silence

87:51 HB: OK. So would you accept then that there are other aspects of sex which are biological such as hormonal makeup, ah, for example, or psychological makeup which might, which also come under the term…



jane fae

Feminist, writer, campaigner on political and sexual liberty who also knows a bit about IT, the law and policing. Not entirely serious…