QotD: “Even a party for women won’t take on trans lobby”

I feel bad about Heather Brunskell Evans. A few months ago I was asked to speak on Radio 4’s Moral Maze about how proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act will affect women. Instead I recommended Heather, far better qualified as editor of a recent book on the medical transition of children.

Cross-examined by Michael Burke, she queried why, if caring adults do not endorse a seven-year-old’s view that he is, say, an astronaut, trans activists want parents to “affirm” every child who suggests he is “in the wrong body”. For this view Brunskell Evans was suspended by the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) of which she is a founder member and, after a secret disciplinary hearing, sacked as its official voice on violence against women, her academic field.

On Tuesday I attended a meeting on the Gender Recognition Act by a group called A Woman’s Place. The venue wasn’t announced until that morning as trans activists had disrupted previous events. But 400 women turned up on an Arctic night, galvanised by moves to allow men who self-identify as women into female private spaces.

It is an incendiary feminist issue, yet the WEP cannot even debate it. Brunskell Evans’s views were anodyne enough to be broadcast on the BBC at teatime, but the WEP sacked her because a single transgender member complained. Eventually on Tuesday night Sophie Walker, the WEP leader, rose to say, in classic mealy-mouthed politician mode, “I’m listening” to fears about changes to the Act. She was roundly booed: I’m not surprised.

Janice Turner

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