Sex Matters writes to the new Chair of Stonewall

Iain Anderson is Stonewall’s new Chair of Trustees. This morning he made his first public appearance, on the BBC. Laura Kuenssberg asked him about engaging with women who are “gender critical”, saying they are asking questions about the trans rights debate and “feel like they have been shut out and unfairly targeted”.

Anderson responded:

“This is my first public appearance as the incoming chair of Stonewall. Anybody that knows me knows I believe in a big tent… What I want to do is talk to women’s groups, I want to talk generally, I want to get this conversation off Twitter, I want to stop debating people’s lives and get everybody to come together again… Less shouting, more conversations and more policy action.”

We have written a letter to Mr Anderson highlighting some of the groups he should talk to if he is serious about this.

30th October 2022

Iain Anderson, Chair of Trustees, Stonewall 

Dear Mr Anderson, 

We were pleased to hear you saying that you will take a “big tent” approach as Chair of Stonewall, and that you intend to reach out to “women’s groups”. Here are details of key groups campaigning for clarity on sex-based rights:

Although women are the largest grouping to be negatively affected by this lack of clarity, these are not all “women’s groups”. Their concerns include women, lesbians, LGB people, freedom of speech, child safeguarding, and fairness and safety in sport. Given that Stonewall’s mandate and charitable objects are to protect the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, we suggest that the first group you meet is LGB Alliance.

We welcome you seeking productive dialogue with “gender critical” groups. You will need to reconsider Stonewall’s previous position as set out in October 2018, that it do(es) not and will not acknowledge that there are any conflicts of rights in relation to women’s rights and its trans campaigning agenda. You will also need to reconsider Stonewall’s position of May 2021, that the gender-critical movement has only contributed to rising hate for trans people in communities, creating a policy environment where it is harder for trans people to access their rights. We can assure you that we recognise that people who identify as transgender have the same human rights as everyone else. 


Naomi Cunningham, Chair
Maya Forstater, Executive Director
Helen Joyce, Director of Advocacy