UK

Ministers urged to review impact of ‘extreme trans rights activism’

Joanna Cherry urged the Prime Minister to take urgent action against trans rights campaigners who have used ‘violence and intimidation’ against women (PA)
Joanna Cherry urged the Prime Minister to take urgent action against trans rights campaigners who have used ‘violence and intimidation’ against women (PA) Joanna Cherry urged the Prime Minister to take urgent action against trans rights campaigners who have used ‘violence and intimidation’ against women (PA)

Ministers have been urged to hold a rapid review into “the impact of extreme trans rights activism on women’s rights”.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry called on the Government to condemn “violence and intimidation” against women by trans rights campaigners.

She referenced a letter sent by the campaign group Sex Matters to the Prime Minister, which asked him to “take urgent action to halt an escalating campaign of violence and intimidation against women in the name of trans rights”.

In the Commons, Ms Cherry said: “Will she (justice minister Laura Farris) condemn this violence and intimidation and will she urge the Prime Minister to do so as well, and commit to addressing it by commissioning a rapid review on the impact of extreme trans rights activism on women’s rights and the rights of lesbians, and will she also open a call for evidence?”

Ms Farris said: “I certainly condemn the conduct that she has described. Even though holding a gender-critical belief is protected in law… I am aware of the polarisation, sometimes intimidation that surrounds debate.

“I have seen the letter that Sex Matters wrote to the Prime Minister, and she should be in no doubt as to how seriously this is viewed.”

Ms Farris added: “She’s asked for a rapid review and I would like to meet her and discuss this further to discuss next steps.”

The letter from Sex Matters to Rishi Sunak claimed that “extreme trans activism constitutes a broad and sustained campaign against women who stand up for women’s rights”, citing the example of placards at marches which included the phrase “Decapitate TERFs” (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) among others.

“We call on you, Prime Minister, to lead the fightback. We urge you to condemn the violence and intimidation against gender-critical women, to commit to addressing it and to open a call for evidence,” it said.

Among the signatories were leading figures in the gender critical movement, including the researcher Maya Forstater and author Helen Joyce.

Sex Matters has since claimed that many people who added personal comments to the letter did so under a pseudonym.

The group wrote that “many people pointed out the implications of not being able to sign with their real names.”