The Issue In Brief
On 10 August 2018 the Governance and Administration Select Committee proposed amendments to the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act (known as the BDMRR Bill). The proposal means that any person can change the sex recorded on their birth certificate, by a simple administrative process. There is no need for any medical evidence or even a change in appearance.
These changes were not signalled when the Bill was first introduced to Parliament, and have not been the subject of proper policy analysis, impact studies or public consultation.
Why This Matters
If a person is “female” or a “woman” just because they say so, then “female” and “woman” become meaningless concepts.
Biology is a material reality.
In a sexist society, our sex-based rights matter.
There are differences between males and females. Males are, on average, bigger and stronger than females. Males do not have the potential to menstruate, get pregnant, or give birth. Males are also statistically more likely to commit violent and sexual crime against women and girls.
A policy of self-ID has significant potential and unintended consequences for women and girls. For example, in relation to:
- Access to single-sex spaces and institutions (e.g. changing rooms, girls’
schools, women’s shelters, rape crisis centres, GirlGuiding, women’s prisons)
- Meaningful records and statistics – e.g. crime, health, employment, pay gap
- Allocation of resources
- Female-only scholarships and quotas
- Sports teams