The right to hold gender-critical views

Liberal Voice for Women tells us:

Doubts about the legality of the Liberal Democrats’ “Definition of Transphobia” (published in September 2020, but never approved by Conference) have finally been put to rest by the publication of a second set of legal advice by a KC.

Earlier this year, the Lib Dems commissioned Guy Vassal Adams KC to provide a legal opinion on the lawfulness of the Definition of Transphobia. When that opinion remained unavailable to the membership, a second opinion from Karon Monaghan KC was sought by a member of the Federal Board and published by us here.

Now the first opinion, that was unavailable, has been made available.

While Karon Monaghan was dismissed by party trans activists who accused her (wrongly) of being biased in favour of the gender critical position, the two opinions are not in conflict. In fact the opposite is true. Vassal Adams writes: I have been asked to identify any point of disagreement or significant differences that may be relevant to the Party’s decisions on these issues. For the avoidance of doubt, I agree with Ms Monaghan’s analysis and I cannot discern any significant difference between her advice and my own.

The conclusion of both sets of advice is that the original Definition of Transphobia is inconsistent with the right to hold gender-critical views under the Equality Act and Human Rights Act. If the Party were to take disciplinary action based on these examples it would be engaging in unlawful discrimination against persons with gender-critical views.

It is a feature of this debate that trans rights proponents will readily label as transphobic any speech which causes them offence. Gender critical views such as ‘trans women aren’t women’ are offensive to trans people, but freedom of expression includes the right to express views that other people find offensive.

Especially, one would hope, when the view “offensive to trans people” is the utterly humdrum and basic factual statement that trans women [aka men] are not women. It’s like finding it “offensive” to say “rain is wet” or “horses and dogs are quadrupeds.”

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