"Being trans in the UK is f**k**g agony right now."

My friend’s words last week following publication of guidance for separate and single-sex service providers by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. She goes on: "So now the EHRC want to help people exclude me from taking a piss in a bathroom that I’m comfortable in".

Trans people are protected under the Equality Act (2010) with several exceptions around access to some spaces. EHRC guidance seeks to exploit these exceptions. Trans people should have every right to use whatever facilities they want and to go wherever they want. After all, gender reassignment is a legally protected characteristic and the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) (2004) allowed people to change their legal gender. So what’s the problem? 

The National Wales:

True, people can change their legal gender, but they have to go through a procedure ranked by the European Commission in 2020 as amongst the worst in Europe with ‘intrusive medical requirements’. Those who persevere are issued with a gender recognition certificate. Most trans people don’t bother applying.

Attempts to reform the GRA and allow trans people the right to self identify without going through a torturous bureaucratic procedure were made under Theresa May, but were later quashed by Boris Johnson, despite evidence that most people support the reforms.

READ MORE: Drakeford slams Boris Johnson over conversion therapy u-turns

Johnson’s latest attack on trans people came with the last minute U-turn over the ban on conversion therapy, which has to be one of the cruellest acts of his administration so far.

Independent research commissioned by the government shows that conversion therapy doesn’t work. In fact it can make matters worse, causing suicidal thoughts among participants.

According to the research, trans people are twice as likely to be subjected to conversion torture as gay and bisexual people were.

The persecution doesn’t stop there. The EHRC, fast becoming the right wing’s weapon of choice, is a vocal critic of the Scottish government, belatedly trying to do the fair thing and allow trans people to self identify rather than go through the current protracted and painful process.

And now British Cycling has suddenly thrown out its policy of including trans people by banning Emily Bridges from competing, even though she has met all the medical criteria demanded of her.

In times of culture wars, these are dangerous signals to be sending to a public which is slowly being radicalised against trans people, according to Craig McLean in a paper published last year in the International Journal of Sociology.

A powerful grouping has emerged, comprising wealthy American evangelical bodies, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, and others who seem to have the prime minister’s ear.

Celebrities such as JK Rowling, politicians across parties and parliaments, fora such as Mumsnet and Twitter provide the spaces for the bigotry to fester.

My friend runs school workshops about the importance of diversity. She recently received a letter from a child who wrote: ‘I just want to say that I look up to you greatly and I hope to be able to be proud and open like you too some day,’

It is our responsibility to make that day happen.

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