- In January the UK government stepped in to stop the Gender Recognition Reform Bill becoming law, which would have brought in gender self-ID in Scotland.
- In February a new prisons policy for England and Wales came into force, meaning trans-identified prisoners with male genitalia would no longer be held in mainstream women’s prisons.
- In March, with a little bit of help from JK Rowling, our petition to Make the Equality Act clear reached 100,000 signatures and was raised in the International Women’s Day debate in Parliament.
- In April, Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, wrote to Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities, saying that the government should consider clarifying the definition of sex in the Equality Act as meaning actual, biological sex.
- In May, British Cycling announced that it would exclude trans-identified males from women’s competitions. This is just one of several sports governing bodies that are updating their policies.
- In June, 23 MPs spoke at a Westminster Hall debate on amending the Equality Act, raising issues concerning schools, sports, health, policing, prisons and data.
- In July, Mermaids lost its case to have LGB Alliance removed from the register of charities.
- In August, things quietened down a little, but we kept up pressure for the Department for Education to issue strong, clear guidance for schools on pupils with gender issues.
- In September, the Home Secretary launched a review of police politicisation, which will cover the adoption of gender ideology by police forces.
- In October, Stonewall lobbied hard for the government to bring forward a bill to “ban conversion therapy”. We argued against this, and launched a new proposal to ban “modern conversion therapy”. In the end, the government defied Stonewall and dropped the legislation from the King’s Speech.
- In November came the For Women Scotland judgment, the census mess and the revelation that the NHS has adopted a computer system that leads it to record babies’ gender identity and not their sex.
- And finally, in December we expect the publication of the long-awaited guidance on trans issues for schools in England.
Sex Matters is just one small organisation working with many others on these issues. Our focus is on how sex matters in law and policy. We work to clarify the law, to help people to understand and use the law, and to build effective campaigns. We articulate arguments; track policy developments and case law; listen to people’s experiences; talk to experts, officials and other campaigners; publish research and analysis; brief politicians and officials; get coverage in the media; and publish guidance and advice to help people understand and use the law.
Next year we need to ramp up these efforts. The clock is ticking down to the next general election. We want the government to amend the Equality Act, publish good schools guidance and complete and act on its review of sex and gender data. And we need to get ready to work with the next government, and to challenge it.