Equality Bill’s Emphasis on Medical Reality “Doesn’t go Far Enough” to Protect “Trans People”: “Tran

Mon Jun 15, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Hilary White

WESTMINSTER, June 15, 2009 ( ) – In testimony to the Parliamentary committee studying the upcoming Equality Act, a “transgendered” rights advocate said that wherever a person may be on the “gender reassignment spectrum,” they should be protected from “discrimination.”

Stephen Whittle, vice president of the “transgendered” lobby group Press For Change, and a woman who has undergone surgery to look like a man, told the bill committee that the law should be applied to “trans people,” who are only at the “stage of life” where they merely “cross-dress part-time.”

“That goes right through to people who have undergone gender reassignment,” she said. Whittle complained that such people “get harassed, thrown out of shops, told that they are not able to come into pubs or whatever.”

“It is what those other people do, not what we do, that creates that discrimination. Therefore, the Bill needs to refocus upon what it is those other people see and react to.”

Whittle, who describes herself as a “transman” who was “born a girl” and underwent gender reassignment therapy, is a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and has been awarded the Order of the British Empire for her homosexualist advocacy work.

Whittle told Labour MP Lynne Featherstone, “We feel very strongly that the Bill does not go far enough ... we recognise that our lives change over a period of time depending on what sort of obligations and workplaces we have. People cannot always make the decisions that they want to make. We have an NHS that often makes people wait years to get through the processes.”

Featherstone asked if Whittle’s objection to the bill was because it was “medically based.” Whittle agreed, saying, “It is based on a particular limited idea.”

To this Featherstone responded, “I am persuaded by your argument.”

Christians have expressed fears that the bill in its current form will severely hamper the ability of churches to continue to provide social services to the general public. Wording in the bill requires that religious organisations must consider anyone, regardless of their beliefs or values, including active homosexuals and “gender reassigned” people, for any post that does not directly involve religious instruction or the leading of worship services.

The bill makes the point explicit, saying, “This exception would not apply to a requirement that a church youth worker or accountant be heterosexual.”

Lining up behind the bill is a who’s who list of British anti-Christian, secularist and atheist organisations including the homosexualist lobby group Stonewall, and the British Humanist Association, which has called for the abolition of religious schools on the grounds that they are inherently “discriminatory.” Also presenting to the committee on June 2nd was an array of homosexualist, feminist and leftist think tanks, including the Gender Identity Research and Education Society, the Gender Identity Research and Education Society, Support Transgenre Strasbourg, the Fawcett Society and the Equality and Diversity Forum.

In an article published this weekend in the Catholic Herald, discrimination law expert Neil Addison wrote that the Equality Bill is a direct attack on religious freedom in Britain. The bill represents a trend of governments that do not “acknowledge the right of religion to have its own sphere, nor does it respect the right of religious organisations to defend their own identity and to preserve their own integrity.”

“Under the act, he wrote, any employment or membership decision [churches] take can be questioned and investigated by an unelected quango [quasi non-governmental organisation], the Equality and Human Rights Commission.”

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