New Government Guidelines Jeopardise the Safety of Women and Girls

Originally posted at Stephanie Davies-Arai

The new government guidelines on the provision of services for transgender customers, recently introduced by Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women & Equalities, during Parliamentary Questions in the House of Commons, should be a wake-up call to all those concerned with the safety of women and girls. Although not new legislation, this document, written in collaboration with trans- activist group Gendered Intelligence, represents a tightening up of transgender rights policy in application to service providers. As such it goes further than previous legislation in explicitly placing the rights of male-bodied part-time cross-dressers above the right to single-sex public bathroom facilities for women and girls.

Sex-segregated toilets are not a luxury, they are a pre-requisite for women’s full participation in public life; some countries are still fighting for them as part of the push for women’s equality. The human right to dignity in itself should secure the provision of separate female public facilities, let alone the right to physical and psychological safety.

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