I overheard a discussion on Radio Four’s Today programme this morning (8 June 2021) that contained such a blatant piece of misinformation imparted by Benjamin Cohen, CEO of Pink News, that I felt compelled to transcribe it.
Justin Webb: Just on the point about abolishing legal provisions for single sex spaces, do you not accept that it is perfectly acceptable for women to campaign for those single sex spaces and to say that those who have changes sex should not be in them?
Benjamin Cohen…..[Evades question and talks about something else for a few moments] and goes on to say, over again, it’s a debate about trans issues without a single trans voice being heard
Justin Webb: Hang on number one, you don’t know anything about me; number two, I asked you a question, would you answer it?
Benjamin Cohen: Sure bit, I just, I’ve made a statement, is this a debate about trans issues with no trans voice?
Justin Webb: Yeah, you’ve made your statement, now could you answer the question?
Benjamin Cohen: You made the statement which is that the provisions around who hets access to single sex spaces has changed, that hasn’t changed, the EqualityAct was passed in 2010, there’s been no changes to that
Justin Webb: Yeah, hang on, what I’m suggesting is that Stonewall would like to change it, and a lot of women are worried about
Benjamin Cohen: Sorry, you just claimed that but that’s not actually true. So, Stonewall supports self-ID (Justin Webb : Exactly) which is about, simply about paperwork, so you’ve been able to self-ID for practical purposes for the Equality Act, since 2010,
Justin Webb: But not for instance to go to a safe space for women, like a women’s refuge, those a protected aren’t they
Benjamin Cohen: (speaking over Justin Webb): yeah, and they continue to be protected.
Justin Webb: And does Stonewall …
Benjamin Cohen: Can you answer me a question, Justin, has Stonewall said that those spaces should be open to trans people, I don’t believe they have
Justin Webb: Well, exactly
Benjamin Cohen: this is the problem,
Justin Webb: But hang on, I think we agree on this
Benjamin Cohen: It’s such misinformation
Justin Webb: Hang on, I think we agree on this in that case because, is it the case, or is it not the case that Stonewall, is campaigning for those safe spaces not to be women only?
Benjamin Cohen: They aren’t campaigning for that, that’s just misinformation being spread by a homophobic and transphobic media, I’m afraid.
The thing is, Benjamin, you’re the one that’s not telling the truth here. The extract below shows that Stonewall are campaigning or did campaign for the removal of the protection of women’s single sex spaces. This is from Stonewall’s submission to Women & Equalities Select Committee Inquiry on Transgender Equality submitted on 27 August 2015. Stonewall’s recommendations included:
““A review of the Equality Act 2010 to include ‘gender identity’ rather than ‘gender reassignment’ as a protected characteristic and to remove exemptions, such as access to single-sex spaces”
(Source Woman’s Place UK, Evidence of calls to remove single sex exemptions from Equality Act: https://womansplaceuk.org/references-to-removal-of-single-sex-exemptions/)
Saying that Stonewall hasn’t campaigned for the removal of women’s single-sex spaces looks a lot like misinformation being spread by a media that doesn’t acknowledge the need for women’s single sex spaces to me. Your move, Benjamin.