Sex Matters charity

From 3rd April 2024, Sex Matters is a charity.

Is Sex Matters a charity?

Yes! On 3rd April 2024 the Charity Commission approved our application to establish Sex Matters as a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). Our charity number is 1207701.

What are the objectives of the charity? 

Our objectives are to:

  1. promote human rights where they relate to biological sex
  2. advance education about sex and the law
  3. promote the sound administration of the law in relation to sex and equality in the law.

You can read the charity objects in more detail on the Charity Commission register.

Who are the trustees of the charity?

The board of trustees comprises Naomi Cunningham (chair), Dr Michael Biggs, Rebecca Bull, Julia Casimo (treasurer) and Dr Emma Hilton.

Why did Sex Matters become a charity? 

Becoming a charity means that we are recognised as an organisation that is operating in pursuit of defined objectives and that these are for public benefit. Charitable status underscores our legitimacy as an organisation and makes it harder to cancel and exclude us. It also helps others who are pursuing the same goals. UK taxpayers who support us financially will be able to donate using the Gift Aid scheme, and we may be able to attract other resources. 

How did Sex Matters become a charity?

Applying for charitable status is a significant undertaking. As part of the application process we needed to assure the Charity Commission that our objectives are for public benefit, that our board understand the statutory obligations of charitable trustees, and that we have policies to ensure that we can meet our objectives through our day-to-day decision-making.

Why is Sex Matters a human-rights organisation?

We believe that universal human rights form a powerful framework for thinking about how a diversity of freedoms can be respected, while protecting against harm and maintaining an open and prosperous society. Read our human-rights framework.

Our starting points are that everyone has a sex, and that everyone has the same human rights. A person’s biological sex cannot change, and it impacts upon their life and relationships with others.

As part of important protections against sex discrimination, men and women may be treated differently (or separately) where there is a good reason such as differing biological or medical needs; to allow for fair competition in sport; or in order to respect bodily privacy and consent. People of both sexes have rights to reasonable bodily privacy, dignity, and freedom of association; separate-sex facilities, with clear rules and boundaries, are particularly important for the inclusion of women in public life. 

What about safeguarding?

Human rights and the equality protections do not override safeguarding. Both should be advanced within a framework of the rule of law.

Children’s rights are a subset of human rights in which the special protection afforded to minors is central. Systems for safeguarding children and vulnerable people from harm relate to one of the most fundamental values of democratic societies: the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. Protecting children’s rights often requires protecting parents’ rights, and this starts with mothers. 

Sex Matters takes its own safeguarding responsibility seriously. The nature of the work that Sex Matters is involved in means that it does not hold a caseload of clients, or work directly with children or other vulnerable people. But it does work with networks of people, which may include vulnerable people and those who work with children. It also receives unsolicited requests for help and guidance from individuals. Read our safeguarding policy.

Where we make policy and legislative recommendations these could have impacts on safeguarding if they are taken up. We seek to consider safeguarding implications when we make policy recommendations, and advocate that other organisations (such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission) do this. 

What about trans people’s human rights? 

We seek to promote laws and policies that in practice protect everyone’s human rights. 

People who identify as transgender have the same human rights as everyone else, including freedom of expression and belief, freedom of association and respect for private life. Individuals should not be discriminated against because they identify as trans or adopt aspects of appearance associated with the opposite sex. They should not be subjected to violence, or arbitrarily denied access to work, education or services such as medical care, transport or utilities. But they do not have the right to compel anyone else to pretend they are a member of the opposite sex or to force anyone to share intimate spaces with them on this basis. 

It is sometimes argued that those who call for clarity on sex, for clear single-sex spaces and for safeguarding are “anti-trans” or seeking to destroy “trans rights”. This is false. The belief that sex is real, binary, immutable and important has been found to be not incompatible with human dignity, and not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others, and therefore “worthy of respect in a democratic society”. This has been set out in the cases including Forstater v CGD Europe and others [2021] UKEAT, David Makereth v DWP and Others [2022], Allison Bailey v Stonewall and Others [2022] ET, Denise Fahmy v Arts Council [2023] ET, Rachel Meade v Westminster City Council and others [2023] ET, Kristie Higgs v Farmor’s School and others [2023] EAT, Dr Shahrar Ali v Reason and Nott [2023] and Jo Phoenix v OU [2024].

What will change now Sex Matters has become a charity? 

You won’t see any major changes: we have been operating with reference to the objectives and policies that we submitted to the Charity Commission for some time. 

Sex Matters’ co-founder Maya Forstater has been appointed as CEO of the charity, and staff and other relationships will transfer from the start-up not-for-profit company to the charity over the coming weeks. 

We will write to supporters about administrative changes as soon as we are able. In the meantime, we would ask supporters to leave existing arrangements such as regular donations in place.

Can you accept donations with Gift Aid? 

Not yet, but as soon as we get that set up we will be writing to supporters. 

What is a CIO?

Charitable Incorporated Organisations or CIOs are a legal structure available for charities.

What is Sex Matters for Everyone Ltd?

When we first set up Sex Matters we set it up as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Last year we changed its legal name to Sex Matters for Everyone, in order to allow the CIO to be set up as a new legal entity using the name Sex Matters.

Over the next few weeks we will be transferring our operations to the CIO. All funds held by the not-for-profit company when it ceases to operate will be transferred to the CIO.

More questions?

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