EHRC Open Letter
To: Equality and Human Rights Commission Fleetbank House 2-6 Salisbury Square London EC4Y 8JX
As leaders of trans and LGBTQ+ organisations we are writing to express our frustration and disappointment at the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) recent record on LGBTQ+ people’s rights and trans people’s rights specifically.
Hate crime against LGBTQ+ people has been rising for years. We continue to experience grave injustice and inequity at school, at work, in the healthcare system, within homelessness and in our communities. These poor experiences are particularly stark for trans people, LGBTQ+ people of colour and for those of us who live in poverty.
The EHRC has a wide range of powers it could use to make equality a reality for our communities, whether influencing public policy debates, strategically litigating to advance our rights, catalysing change in complex policy areas like healthcare or providing guidance that resolves uncertainty and ambiguity about delivering our rights in reality.
We are disappointed that, despite the realms of possibility to improve LGBTQ+ people’s lives and our access to our human rights, the EHRC has driven forward very little for our communities in recent years. Against that backdrop of a lack of support for LGBTQ+ people, we are frustrated that you then chose to intervene in a case to say that so-called ‘gender critical’ beliefs should be a protected philosophical belief.
It was a kick in the teeth to trans people to see the EHRC appear to put their organisational weight behind a movement that has only contributed to rising hate for trans people in communities, creating a policy environment where it is harder for trans people to access their rights.
That the EHRC chose to add their weight to this intervention has sent a deeply damaging message to trans people about their validity and worth. This intervention has lost the trust of trans people and LGBTQ+ people more broadly.
We urge the EHRC to engage with our communities and review how the EHRC can truly play an effective role in making our human rights a reality. As leaders of trans and LGBTQ+ organisations, we want to see a strategic programme of activity to support our communities and address the inequities we experience in healthcare, at work, at school, within homelessness and in our communities. Trust can only be rebuilt with effective action and good community engagement.
It’s time to step up.
Signatories to this letter (some additional signatories have been added since the letter was sent to the EHRC):
Susie Green, Chief Executive Mermaids Helen Belcher, Chair TransActual CIC Dr Jay Stewart, CEO Gendered Intelligence Paul Roberts OBE, Chief Executive LGBT+ Consortium Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive Stonewall Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive LGBT Foundation Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Co-Founder & Executive Director UK Black Pride Sue Sander, Chair Schools Out UK Andy Hunt, CEO Intercom Trust Maurice Greenham, Chair North Midlands LGBT Older People's Group Jenny-Anne Bishop OBE, Chairperson Unique Transgender Network / TransForum Manchester Jane Fae, Chair Trans Media Watch Adam McCann, Chief Executive Officer Diversity Role Models Helen Jones, CEO MindOut LGBTQ Mental Health Service Heather Paterson, Chief Executive Officer SAYiT (Sheena Amos Youth Trust) Helen Walsh, CEO Space Youth Project Lee Clatworthy, Acting Chair Sparkle - The National Transgender Charity Karen Skipper, CEO Spectra Capt Catherine S Burton FRAeS, Chair GIRES Harvey Kennedy-Pitt, CEO & Founding Director Black Beetle Health CIO Lucie Brooke, Director Free2B Alliance Tim Sigsworth, Chief Executive akt (formerly the Albert Kennedy Trust) Maruska Greenwood, Chief Executive LGBT Health and Wellbeing Freya Finch, Co-facilitator TransLondon Hannah Pittman, Campaign Founder TRACE: Trans Respect Advocacy in Care Employment Alice Wallace, Director Opening Doors Teresa Sharpe, Chief Executive Officer ELOP Siddhi Joshi, Founder and Chairperson British Asian LGBTI Maya Price, Co-founder Proud2Be CIC Max Price, Co-founder Proud2Be CIC Salim Khalifa, Interim CEO Trade Sexual Health Anna Kear, CEO Tonic Housing Association Steven McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer Stonewall Housing Association Lukasz Konieczka, Executive Director Mosaic LGBT+ Young Persons’ Trust Pip Gardner, Chief Executive The Kite Trust Lewis Turner, Chief Executive Lancashire LGBT Monty Moncrieff MBE, Chief Executive London Friend Christopher French, Chair LGBT+ Consortium Dr Greg Ussher, CEO METRO Charity Cameron Millington, Co Chair FTM London Andi Herring, CEO LCR Pride Foundation Revd. Jide Macaulay, Founder and CEO House of Rainbow CIC