Equality Watchdog Under Scrutiny Over Trans Rights

Alright, here’s the scoop: the equality watchdog in Britain might lose its rights at the UN human rights council due to complaints about its stance on transgender rights and its independence.

Reviewing the Watchdog

So, there’s this Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (Ganhri) that rates organizations based on international standards. They’ve launched a review of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). This review might knock down EHRC’s ‘A’ status, which gives them independence at the UN human rights council and lets them vote and hold positions in Ganhri.

Trouble Brewing

Last year, a group of 19 LGBT+ organizations, led by Stonewall and backed by the Good Law Project, said the EHRC was getting too political and anti-trans. They asked for EHRC to lose its ‘A’ status. Then, last October, Ganrhi’s accreditation subcommittee said EHRC should keep its status but had to sort out issues like supporting LGBTI rights and being more independent.

Back to Square One

Stonewall and crew think EHRC hasn’t really fixed these issues. They made another complaint to Ganrhi, which kicked off this special review. EHRC’s chair, Kishwer Falkner, spilled the beans about this in a piece for the Telegraph.

Reaction from Stonewall

Robbie de Santos from Stonewall welcomed the review, saying that LGBTQ+ groups have been worried about EHRC’s political stance and approach to trans rights. He mentioned EHRC got recommendations last year but didn’t seem to follow through. That’s why they reached out to Ganrhi again.

Past Controversies

This whole thing started when EHRC suggested that the UK government’s ban on conversion practices shouldn’t include trans people. They also asked Scotland to hold off on simplifying gender recognition rules but later changed their tune on conversion practices to support a ban for trans folks.

EHRC’s Stand

EHRC caught flak again in April for advising the UK government that transgender people might be excluded from single-sex services if it was justifiable and fair. Some former EHRC big shots and current staff have questioned EHRC’s independence from the UK government.

EHRC’s Response

Falkner expressed disappointment but said they’re confident they can prove themselves to Ganrhi. They’ve already hit back, saying the complaints against them are off-base. They believe they’re sticking to the Paris principles, taking pride in staying independent from the government and not holding back on challenging them.

What’s Next?

Ganhri hasn’t spilled the beans on the September/October session where EHRC’s review was decided. Their report is coming online soon, though.

So, EHRC’s in the hot seat, facing a special review over its stand on trans rights. It’s a tussle that’s causing a stir, with EHRC adamant about their independence and critics raising questions about their approach to important issues.