Stonewall response to EHRC statements on upcoming LGBTQ+ legislation | Stonewall
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Stonewall response to EHRC statements on upcoming LGBTQ+ legislation

Today’s statements from the EHRC are an attack on trans equality and undermine EHRC’s core purpose of regulating, promoting and upholding human rights.

We believe the EHRC is no longer fit for purpose. Sign our petition in support of trans rights.

The two statements – in response to plans to legislate for a ban on conversion therapy in England and Wales, and Gender Recognition Act reform in Scotland - effectively seek to exclude trans people from improved rights and protections. 

They disregard findings from the UK Government’s own research and the largest ever survey of LGBTQ+ people in the UK, as well as the expert opinion of the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity on conversion therapy and gender recognition. 

In these statements the EHRC is calling for further delays to legislation that our communities have been waiting on for many years. In both cases the UK Government and Scottish Government have given ample opportunity for consultation.

And so we urge both the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and First Minister of Scotland, to continue showing leadership to recognise and protect trans people, and progress rights for our communities by supporting these key pieces of legislation. 

We are deeply troubled by the approach that the EHRC is taking to trans people’s human rights. Their approach appears to focus on pleasing a noisy minority of anti-trans activists, rather than promoting human rights for all LGBTQ+ people. 

The EHRC has a statutory duty to enforce the Equality Act 2010 and protect equality and human rights across all nine protected characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender reassignment. These statements do the opposite, by actively standing in the way of improving the rights of trans people.

The EHRC is also a UN-accredited National Human Rights Institution, and as such is expected to operate according to the ‘Paris Principles’, which include the commitment to promote and protect all human rights and to contribute towards a world where everyone, everywhere fully enjoys their rights.         

We believe today’s statements by the EHRC violate these Principles.  

This comes as the UK is named as a country of concern in a resolution by the Council of Europe, in which the General Rapporteur on LGBT+ Rights raised concerns about the growth in “highly prejudicial anti-gender, gender-critical and anti-trans narratives which reduce the fight for the equality of LGBTI people to what these movements deliberately mischaracterise as ‘gender ideology’ or ‘LGBTI ideology’.” 

Our communities need and deserve a stronger human rights institution. Stonewall calls on the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions to urgently review EHRC and ensure that trans people’s rights are effectively supported by this institution.