The Wales government has unveiled its plans to redefine the term “woman” in the context of political representation to include trans women, according to a leaked draft of the Gender Quotas Bill, obtained by The Telegraph. Here’s the full story.
The New Bill
The proposed bill outlines a pathway to achieving a gender-balanced Senedd (Welsh Parliament) by making equal quotas for male and female political candidates.
Trans Women Are Women
In the draft, the definition of a woman will be expanded to encompass trans women.
Under the provisions of this bill, political candidates will be permitted to self-identify their gender when running for the Senedd.
Definition of Transgender
The draft bill also includes a definition of transgender, which says, “A person who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing, or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning [their] sex to female by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.”
Can’t Question Gender
Additionally, the draft suggests that no constituency returning officer would be allowed to challenge or inquire about a candidate’s identity or gender identification.
A Similar Plan
This proposal mirrors a similar plan put forward by the Scottish government in January.
The Scottish plan aimed to streamline the process for individuals to change their gender legally but was subsequently blocked by the UK government.
The leaked draft has provoked a mixed response from the public.
While the trans community and its advocates have welcomed this progressive step, anti-trans hate groups, and women’s rights organizations have expressed strong opposition.
Men Might Self-Identify as Women
Cathay Larkman, Welsh coordinator of the Women’s Rights Network, conveyed her concerns.
She suggested that men might self-identify as women to increase their chances of candidate selection, potentially sidelining female candidates.
She said, “We are putting the Welsh Government on notice. Women will organize to fight this attack on our rights.
This is a first step towards full self-ID in law. It would introduce gender self-identification which has serious implications for women and girls in particular, with regards to single-sex spaces and services, including in changing rooms, sports, same-sex intimate care, hospital wards, rape crisis support, and domestic violence centers.”
Responding to the leaked bill, a spokesperson for the Welsh Government clarified that it does not represent the latest version of the Gender Quotas Bill.
The spokesperson did not specifically address the issue of the redefinition of women but said, “Our proposed model for quotas is designed to maximize the chances of achieving a Senedd composed of at least 50 percent women. Work is ongoing on the Bill.”
Respecting Diverse Perspectives
The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has been a longstanding advocate for transgender rights.
He has consistently voiced his support for the transgender community in the Senedd.
In a speech delivered last year, Drakeford shared the importance of respecting diverse perspectives in the debate over transgender rights.
UK Government’s Starting Point
“My starting point is the same as Penny Mordaunt’s – the UK minister responsible at the time – who said that the UK government’s starting point was that transgender women are women.
That’s my starting point in this debate,” Drakeford said.
Inclusivity Is What We Should Be Aiming For
He added, “In such a potentially divisive issue, the responsibility of elected representatives is not to stand on the certainties of their own convictions, but instead to work hard to look for opportunities for dialogue, to find ways of promoting understanding rather than conflict, and to demonstrate respect rather than to look for exclusion … to me, inclusivity is absolutely what we should be aiming for here.”
“What an Insult to Women!”
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “What an insult to women! Hope it’s blocked. Fairness dies in silence.”
Worst Drop In Living Standards
Another user added, “The worst drop in living standards ever, a cost of living emergency, a Tory government that is an absolute joke, and inequality is worse than ever, and this is what the opposition chooses to focus on.
Something no sane person would agree to unless they were over a barrel.”
A third user commented, “Transgender females are female now? It used to be sex doesn’t equal gender. Now we’re pretending they’re a type of female, as in the biological sex. Ridiculous nonsense.”
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