Magazine claimed gender reforms would make men expose genitals

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Helen Lewis, the deputy editor of the New Statesman, wrote in The Times smashing the idea that people are free to define their gender regardless of biology. Days after Jeremy Corbyn called for an overhaul of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act allowing trans people to change gender legally. The current law requires trans people to pass a number of bureaucratic procedures and medical tests to be assigned by the true gender. Corbyn backed trans campaigners in calling for a ‘self-declaration’ system which would eliminate many of the obstacles. But Lewis objected, comparing gender to nationality, saying that if you want to be British, you can become one, but only when all the necessary procedures are finished, you will be no less British than GB-born people. Writer and campaigner Juno Roche opposed such comments actively, focusing on the possible danger for trans women for society: “Whilst some speculate wildly about what may happen if trans people are allowed far more freedom in relation to self-identification and how dangerous they perceive us to be – as they do that, people, real people, trans people are dying. Look at the numbers globally of trans women – mainly TWOC (trans women of colour) – contracting HIV, through structural and systemic discrimination and societal neglect. Claims about us as perpetrators of crimes against women are factually wrong, but are also made out of pure and simple spite.” Sunday Times, in turn, wrote: “Adults will be able to change their gender legally without a doctor’s diagnosis under government plans that will transform British society. Men will be able to identify themselves as women – and women as men – and have their birth certificates altered to record their new gender.” Lewis was also worried about the government’s proposals increasing the number of male flashers in women’s changing rooms. “In this climate, who would challenge someone with a beard exposing their penis in a women’s changing room?” she asks. Similar arguments – about how trans people might abuse the ability to use their bathroom of choice – have been used to battle against trans rights in the US.

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