The Equality And Human Rights Commission Has Failed The United Kingdom LGBT+ Community
Feb 19 2022
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is the equality and human rights watchdog in the United Kingdom. While they are supposed to uphold human rights in the UK they have recently come under fire for the wave of transphobic attacks.
The EHRC has had allegations of being a transphobic workplace, has held a meeting with anti-transgender groups, tried to delay the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), and a lot more. Now a group of major LGBT+ charities is taking legal action to downgrade the EHRC from its current stats. Let's take a closer look at the EHRC's actions.
The trouble started when several LGBT+ groups sent an open letter to the EHRC criticizing their inaction on LGBT+ issues. Just a day after this letter was sent the EHRC withdrew from Stonewall's Diversity Champions scheme though they said this was for unrelated financial reasons.
Things started to heat up when the EHRC called for the delay of reform to the GRA. The GRA allows transgender people in the UK to legally change their gender. Currently, the process provided by the GRA is long and requires medical approval, this has led to only about 1% of transgender people in the UK obtaining a gender recognition certificate. Reform would make this process easier and is desperately needed. The EHRC claimed that in its current form the reform among other things would attack woman's rights. This is a debunked and overused argument against transgender rights that we have written about extensively.
On the same day, the EHRC said that consensual conversion therapy should be excluded from conversion therapy ban legislation. While this is not bad in theory, conversion therapy is ineffective and often leads to poor mental health. Also, people may be pressured into giving consent by family or religious officials. This statement would have further delayed the ban on conversion therapy which is badly needed as lots of LGBT+ youth in the UK can still be subject to this cruel practice without consent. At the time of writing conversion therapy is not banned in the UK.
These 2 statements were widely criticized by LGBT+ groups. In a press release, Stonewall called for the EHRC to be reviewed by the OHCHR and GANHRI. The LGBT foundation also cut ties with the EHRC in response.
A few months after this several employees would quit over an anti-LGBT+ environment in the EHRC workplace. Several whistleblowers also came forward to VICE World News alleging transphobia at the EHRC. Staff said their work was being edited to make it “transphobic and seriously inaccurate.” Staff also reported that people who spoke out had action taken against them. An ex-employee said "I was seeing our upcoming publications and guidance pushing for trans rights being changed – or completely scrapped and shelved permanently – meanwhile the Board was building links to anti-trans groups. It was awful."
The head of the EHRC, Kishwer Falkner also allegedly edited documents making them more "gender critical." Leaks about the EHRC to VICE also Reported that Kishwer Falkner was in support of transgender bathroom discrimination, a practice that damages transgender people without protecting cisgender people at all. When Kishwer Falkner was asked if she was a transphobe she dodged the question saying "I don’t know what the meaning of that word is."
EHRC leaders was also caught holding a meeting with anti-transgender hate groups such as the LGB Alliance and Fair Play For Women. These 2 groups have spread lies about transitioning and bathroom privacy which has been debunked.
Because of all of this transphobia, Stonewall, with the backing of the Good Law Project and more than 20 other LGBT+ groups are launching a legal challenge against the EHRC. They have submitted evidence to the GANHRI calling for the EHRC to lose it A rating. This succeeds the EHRC would not be allowed to appear at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
We are hopeful that this legal challenge will be successful, the EHRC has worked to attack transgender rights for too long. It's crazy how the human rights watchdog in the UK is working to undermine human rights.