We have written to all the candidates in next month’s Brighton & Hove Council elections, asking them to consider and respond to our concerns about services for women and girls in the city.
We publish our letter here, in three parts. If you are a voter in Brighton & Hove, we invite you to ask the candidates in your ward how they respond to these concerns.
We are a group of local women who are campaigning for women’s rights and interests to be recognised and respected by policy makers and service providers.
We are contacting all candidates in the forthcoming local elections, to ask for your views on the following local issues of concern to us. Please be assured that any responses to this email will be kept confidential within our group. If you are interested in engaging in a dialogue with us on these issues, we would be very pleased to meet with you.
We are saddened and angry that female victims of rape and sexual violence in Brighton & Hove do not currently have access to any services which are for female people only. Some of us are survivors of rape and sexual violence, and all of us are aware that for many women, a female-only therapeutic space is essential for recovery and healing from the trauma of having been assaulted.
We have concerns about some of the advice in the Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit, issued by the council to local schools. Some of us are parents, some are teachers, and all of us are concerned that the rapid and unprecedented growth in the number of children identifying as trans may be having unacknowledged adverse impacts on girls (including those who are trans-identified themselves) in our local schools.
As a feminist group, we disagree with some of the concepts promoted by organisations who provide training for professionals in the city. For example, the Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit includes the following statements, without acknowledging that they are controversial:
“Developing a positive sense of gender identity is an important part of growing up for all children and young people.” (page 6)
“Cisgender Person –a person whose sex assigned at birth matches their gender identity. In other words, a term for non-trans people” (page 8)
“Gender identity, sex, sexual orientation and gender expression are all spectrums and are all different” (page 10)
If you are elected to Brighton & Hove Council in May, will you publicly support respectful discussion and debate around sex and gender?
Awaiting your reply with interest,