More than 250 Cambridge students sign open letter in response to Liz Truss’s ‘transphobic’ comments

The open letter calls for Truss to retract her comments and for a reform of the Gender Recognition Act


An open letter in response to comments made by Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, has been signed by over 20 Cambridge student unions, as well as nearly 280 individual signatories.

The letter criticises what the writer calls Truss’s “transphobic rhetoric” in comments made to the Women and Equalities Select Committee on Wednesday 22nd April, in which she discussed the “protection of single-sex spaces”.

It describes her comments as representing “an adoption of classic anti-trans talking points”, displaying a “clear indication of the transphobia ingrained at the highest levels of the State.”

In her speech, Truss announced her desire to maintain “checks and balances” on the systems which allow trans adults legal recognition, and to “protect” under 18s from “decisions that they could make”.

Stonewall has voiced concerns about Truss’s comments, with their Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research, Laura Russell noting that “trans people still experience profound discrimination in every area of their lives; from employment, to access to health services”.

The charity Mermaids also issued a statement regarding the remarks, adding: “We would like to offer the Minister for Women and Equalities an opportunity to meet some of our young people so she can hear them talk directly about any decisions which may affect their right to take the same personal responsibilities as their cisgender peers.”

Signatories include a number of JCRs, including Newnham, Trinity, Murray Edwards, Downing, and Sidney Sussex, as well as other student unions and student-run societies.

Other supporters of the letter include Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), University of Cambridge Graduate Union (GU), Cambridge University Labour Club (CULC), and the Cambridge University Liberal Association (CULA).

 

The letter states: “We are extremely concerned this speech is a precursor to further policing of trans people’s identities, and denying young trans people access to trans-affirming healthcare and support, which is often life-saving.”

“This cannot go unmarked. Transphobic rhetoric must be called out wherever it is seen, and where it is used by those who have the power to alter legislation that can mean the difference between life and death for trans people, it is essential that those responsible are held to account.” 

“If Truss wishes her office to be considered anything more than a sham designed to appease the marginalised without granting any material concessions, she must immediately retract her statements and support the reform of the GRA to enable safe and easy legal recognition for all trans people.”

The letter also called for a reform to the Gender Recognition Act (the GRA), which “could make a huge improvement to the lives of thousands of trans people.”

The full letter can be found here.

Liz Truss MP has been contacted for comment.

Cover Photo Credit: Flickr