On Friday 12 October, we have been made aware of literature that had been circulated around campus belonging to the group Fair Play for Women. The posters, leaflets, and stickers found in the Wolfson building, the Windsor building, and the Boilerhouse have been circulated in direct response to the government’s consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA).
The literature asks respondents to “defend female rights” by opposing sex self-identification, and claims that should the GRA be reformed, it would infringe of the sex-based rights of women and girls. The leaflets repeatedly refer to trans women as men claiming to be women, and it is heavily insinuated that abusive men would use this legislation in order to exploit the system. The literature also claims that the GRA will impact on single sex spaces, including domestic violence shelters and rape crises centres.
As an organisation, we strive for inclusivity and equality in everything we do, and seek to fight for the rights of marginalised groups across campus. We also acknowledge that all of our students have a right to free speech, which is enshrined in law, and civil disagreements are a part of living, working, and studying in an educational institution. RHSU, as a political organisation, however, has the right to take a stance for and against issues it deems pertinent.
Students on campus have a right to feel safe, and some of Fair Play for Women’s statements promote fear and intolerance of trans individuals, which ultimately leads to the ostracisation of trans people across the country. Furthermore, the claims in the literature that the GRA will impact on single-sex spaces, including domestic violence shelters and rape crises centres, is demonstrably untrue – these spaces are protected by exemptions laid out in the Equalities Act 2010, and no changes to the GRA will impact them whatsoever.
Should you find any of the literature on campus, we would ask that you send a photograph and location to firstname.lastname@example.org, where we can pursue this issue further. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to email us, or come to the Students’ Union for a meeting. The Gender Recognition Act Consultation closes this Friday, and we would still encourage any individual who has yet to complete it to fill it out. Guidance and recommendations can also be found here. Ultimately, we will continue to fight for the rights of all students, and will do so with certainty, and with vigour.
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