Response to white paper on law to protect against sex discrimination

Trans* Jersey has now submitted its response to the States of Jersey Social Security Department white paper on law to protect against sex discrimination. All comments received regarding the white paper were incorporated into the response. However, this is not the end of the process. A period of consultation begins now, which Trans* Jersey hopes it will be involved with. We have expressed our interest in doing so. If you have further comments or issues that you want included, please email us.

Trans* Jersey restricted its response to two of the characteristics being considered by the consultation – sex and gender reassignment – that are of most concern to trans* islanders and suggested ways in which the law might be drafted to protect a more diverse, but equally discriminated against, population.

discrimination-black-and-redSummary of key issues arising

The white paper assumes that gender and sex are interchangeable. For most people that may be the case but it is not the case for trans* people. Using a binary model of sex as a protected characteristic by which to assess discrimination presents problems. These are outlined in the full response.

There are a number of misconceptions about what it means to be trans* and, unfortunately, the States of Jersey’s consultation document falls into some common traps. Why these misconceptions are unhelpful is discussed in the full response.

The States of Jersey has looked to the UK Equality Act for guidance on how to shape its anti-discrimination legislation. However, as the recent manifesto presented to the UK government by a number of UK charities that work with the trans* community demonstrates, there are problems with this legislation (and the Gender Recognition Act) that need to be corrected.

Jersey has an opportunity to bring in model legislation that advances the current position of trans* people within British law. Trans* Jersey offers a solution to the problems it sees as arising from the proposals put forward in the white paper in order that Jersey can implement legislation that encompasses the broad spectrum of human gender identity.

What we would like to see

Trans* Jersey is asking for the States of Jersey’s law to protect against sex discrimination to include two things:

  1. The definition of “sex” as a protected characteristic expanded to include persons of a non-binary gender;
  2. The removal of any exemption that permits businesses to discriminate on the grounds of gender reassignment. There is no requirement to have any exemptions for transgender individuals, other than those provided for the characteristic of “sex”. Trans employees should be subject only to the same exemptions for genuine occupational requirements as natal born men, women and those persons of a non-binary gender.

To find out more about how we arrived at the above and the background to our thinking on the white paper, you can download our full response here.

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