Gender recognition reforms would have no impact on homeless shelters

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The opponents of the new Gender Recognition Act in the UK say that it might be dangerous to allow transgender women to share spaces with cisgender women, because there is no guarantee that a man would not pretend to be a trans woman to get into the space full of women whom he could easily attack. But in fact the majority of homeless shelters across the country are already accommodating transgender women in correspondence with their gender identity – with women. The research, conducted by nfpSynergy and commissioned by Stonewall, is based on in-depth interviews with representatives from 15 local domestic and sexual violence support services across Britain, and many of them have trans-accepting policy. “Participants take a personalised, client-centred approach to supporting trans women, as they do for all survivors. Many described steps they are taking to proactively deliver trans-inclusive services, including creating specific policies and delivering staff training,” the rep[ort reads adding that in most cases staff members don’t even need any trainings, as they treat transgender residents warmly and nicely. “Recalling instances where challenges have arisen, services described how they engaged with staff and service users to build understanding for trans survivors and ensure that a safe and inclusive space was maintained for all. Many participants told us that reform of the Gender Recognition Act would have no relevance to how they deliver their services. While respondents were aware of a view that gender recognition reform could allow violent men to pose as women to access their services, with one participant expressing a concern about this, there was otherwise a clear consensus that services’ thorough risk assessment procedures would safeguard against this. These participants said that gender recognition reform would not compromise their ability to protect their service against, or turn away, any abusive or disruptive individual” the report continues.

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