This is why you’re seeing transphobic leaflets around campus
The group posting them ‘don’t want to spread transphobia’
Over the past few weeks, leaflets have been found in various buildings across campus, claiming that "Female Rights Are Under Attack", following a potential reform of the Gender Recognition Act that would introduce official gender self-identification.
In order to understand the message of the leaflets and their context, we put together everything you should now about the Gender Recognition Act consultation and the feminist group behind the leaflets.
What is the Gender Recognition Act?
The Gender Recognition Act of 2004 states that in order for an individual to be able to change their gender and receive an gender recognition certificate, a number of steps have to be undertaken, which include officially being diagnosed with body dysmorphia by a professional, as well as having lived in the preferred gender for at least two years.
This process is extremely long and often very distressing for a lot of people who suffer from body dysmorphia, so now the government is currently considering changes to the act and opened up an online consultation on the reform.
After the initial deadline of the questionnaire, the consultation period for this act was extended, from the 19th of October to the 22nd, due to an extremely high number of submissions.
What do the leaflets say?
"Fair Play for Women", the organisation behind the leaflets, is a group of volunteers, including various academics, travelling across the UK campaigning against changes to the Gender Recognition Act.
Asked about their leaflets, the group told The Royal Holloway Tab that they sell them on their website to volunteers, so it is probable Royal Holloway students are purchasing leaflets and posting them in different locations on campus, including the women's toilets in the Windsor Building.
The campaign urges people to vote against a potential Gender Recognition reform, claiming it would threaten women's rights and erode female-only spaces, which would become accessible to anyone who declares themselves as female.
On their official website, the group states: "We do not support any increase in the legal rights of transgender people that comes at the expense of women's existing legal rights".
One of the campaigners from ''Fair Play for Women'', Professor Kathleen Stock, says: "This is not about being 'anti-trans' or 'transphobic', it's about being pro-female". Speaking to The Royal Holloway Tab, the group were very keen to stress that they do not want to spread transphobia on campus.
Charlotte Edmondson, LGBT+ Society Ace/Bi Representative, said: "The whole situation represents a rise in far-right beliefs that stems from specific student groups (which I will not name) that go unchallenged and are given space to breed and spread hate".
The consultation period for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act, during which voters has now ended, so it remains to be seen if leaflets such as these could have had any effect on the outcome of the reforms to the act.