The right of transgender (‘trans’) persons to access gender-segregated space is neither a new controversy nor a conversation which is unique to the United Kingdom. Yet, despite increasingly charged political debates in North America, the question of trans access to single-gender facilities remains largely underexplored by British legal academics. In January 2016, the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Women and Equalities recommended expanding trans entry into single-gender services and communal accommodations under the Equality Act 2010. Using the Committee’s report as a springboard for debate, this article considers the right of trans populations to use their preferred women-only and men-only spaces. Critically analysing the existing possibilities to exclude trans persons from services and accommodations, as well as the policy arguments which motivate this approach, the article demonstrates how, adopting common-sense, evidence-based reforms, Parliament can introduce legal rules which both prioritize user safety and respect trans dignity.
- United Kingdom