5th April 2022

The recently published EHRC guide for separate and single-sex service providers confirms our understanding of the current law. Providers of single-sex services can restrict or modify access for trans people when doing so is necessary to achieve a legitimate aim, and when the action taken is proportionate in balancing impacts on different groups of women.

Fawcett supports this position and believe there are occasions where services, in particular those for trauma survivors, should be able to make this decision. We welcome the guide for providing that clarity.

However, we have some concerns with the guidance. We believe some of the examples that are given to wider service providers as they consider their approaches to the inclusion of trans people are confusing and lack detail. In some cases, we believe the examples used suggest a threshold for the exclusion of trans people that is too low. We are worried that this will have a disproportionate impact on trans people. 

Fundamentally, everyone deserves access to high-quality services and to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect. Whilst this is a complex discussion and balancing the rights of different groups of women is challenging, acceptance and support should always be the starting point.