We share the LGBT+ community’s concerns regarding the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the aftermath of their interventions on Wednesday. As Labour members, we are acutely aware of how crucial the proper functioning of the EHRC is. However, it can only be an effective body if it has the confidence of the communities it is supposed to advocate for.
With their recent interventions it is clear that the EHRC has lost the confidence of the LGBT+ community, with LGBT Consortium, LGBT Foundation, Stonewall, the Equality Network, the Rainbow Project, Gendered Intelligence, Mermaids, the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition, End Conversion Therapy Scotland, Ban Conversion Therapy NI, Amnesty U.K. Rainbow Network and Liberty, all condemning the EHRC’s interventions. It is deeply concerning that such a wide variety of LGBT+ and human rights organisations are losing faith, to the extent that it’s role as a National Human Rights Institution is being questioned.
This is all the more worrying when the EHRC is due to be publishing guidance on the operation of single-sex spaces, the moral panic around which has created a deeply hostile environment for trans and non-binary people accessing essential services. The guidance is likely to be challenged and not viewed credibly by our communities if the EHRC cannot demonstrate engagement with the LGBT+ sector. Sadly, in oral evidence to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee its Chair has argued against the EHRC being more transparent around who it has met with, with the same committee in a different inquiry condemning the EHRC’s negligence surrounding engaging with the committee on GRA reform.
We will be discussing this and some deeply harmful amendments submitted by members of the PLP in their role as delegates to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in our next meeting with the leadership. As part of democratising this work and distributing knowledge throughout the labour movement, we are running a dedicated session on understanding our current anti-trans moral panic in late February.