Truss is right on Stonewall, and fast becoming the unsung hero of Johnson’s Cabinet

Jun 4, 2021 by

by Hattie Turner, Conservative Home:

Liz Truss, the Equalities Minister, is fast becoming the unsung hero of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet and this time, she’s taken on the issue no one wants to. It all links back to the organisation, Stonewall – which pledges to “stand for LBGTQ+ people everywhere“. Stonewall offers a paid membership to its “diversity champions” programme, which aims to ensure LGBTQ+ people are free to be themselves in the workplace. This sounds a thoroughly decent aim which I doubt anyone disagrees with, but the reality is quite different.

The annual fee to join up starts at £2,500 and many public bodies, such as the NHS, police forces and government departments are members. It is thought to have made £3 million in fees last year and offers a “Trans Ally” one-day course costing £410 for members of the programme.

Of course, there is a separate argument to be had on whether it is up to publicly funded bodies to decide to fund specific social causes using taxpayer money – is it not for HR departments to manage the relationships between employees and resolve issues? However, even if one agrees with the aim to encourage inclusion in the workplace, Truss has highlighted the glaring issue with Stonewall’s programme: women’s rights.

More broadly, Stonewall supports allowing transgender women (biological male) into women’s refuges and including transgender women on all-women shortlists. There are a number of feminist campaigners and writers – often from the left of the political spectrum – who question the notion you can simply “become” a woman. There is a wider discussion to be had on this matter, but this is precisely what it should be: a discussion.

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Read also:  Whose choice? from Voice for Justice UK

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