Welcome to the Sex Matters memo, a weekly roundup on sex and gender. This week: 
  • Government excludes gender-critical therapists from evidence session
  • Trans activists share J.K. Rowling's address
  • Girl Guides reviews appointment of male leader
  • Brian May of Queen blasts "woke" Brit awards 
  • 20% increase in transgender prison population
  • Joanna Cherry MP presses Home Office to leave Stonewall
  • New German government promises gender self-id
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Missing: gender-critical therapists
This week the Women and Equalities Select Committee (WESC) held two evidence-gathering sessions as part of a consultation on the banning of conversion therapy. But those selected to argue against the ban were exclusively from faith communities, despite significant concern from a growing community of secular gender-critical clinicians.

On Tuesday Dr David Bell, a former governor at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, criticised treatments for youth with gender dysphoria. Speaking to an online audience at a conference organised by Genspect, a group of parents with gender-questioning children, Bell accused his former employer as acting as a "gateway for puberty blockers". Bell has previously argued that medical treatments for children with gender dysphoria are a modern form of conversion therapy for lesbian and gay youth.

Sex Matters published a rapid review of the Coventry University research commissioned by the Government Equality Office (GEO) in support of its proposal to criminalise "conversion therapy". We found that review extremely thin, with overheated conclusions.

The proposed law risks criminalising parents, teachers, therapists, social workers and others, if they do not affirm a child's gender self-identification. The Sex Matters team has  produced a template form for people to use to ask their MPs to press the government to:

1. Extend the consultation period beyond six weeks;
2. Revisit the research evidence;
3. Wait until the Cass Review of paediatric gender services has completed its work.
Email your MP
J.K. Rowling's home address shared
This week three transactivist drag performers published photos of themselves protesting outside J.K. Rowling's house in Edinburgh. The images, which were widely shared on Twitter, clearly showed the author’s address. (We have obscured it in the photo above.)

Commenting on Twitter, Rowling said:

"I've now received so many death threats I could paper the house with them, and I haven't stopped speaking out. Perhaps – and I'm just throwing this out there – the best way to prove your movement isn't a threat to women, is to stop stalking, harassing and threatening us."

The activists were named as Richard Energy, Georgia Frost and Holly Stars.

Holly Stars, a drag queen whose real name is Travis Scott, posted a statement on social media saying he had removed the photo after being "inundated with abuse".

Journalist Owen Jones said that their protest was a "poor misjudgement for which they will pay for with probably ruined lives".

Police Scotland confirmed that inquiries are ongoing.
Girl Guides launches investigation

Girlguiding has been in the firing line this week after photos emerged which showed a trans-identified male leader dressed in fetish gear. Monica Sulley, a 58-year-old bus driver, was appointed to the Girl Guides in July under a controversial "trans-inclusive" policy.

Some of the photos showed Sulley dressed as a dominatrix, and others showed him in uniform and posing with weapons.

Helen Watts was barred from volunteering with the organisation after complaints were made about her gender critical views. She said:

"I endured threats of violence, was called a terrorist, risked my career, lost my position, had to call the police and take legal advice. All for saying that sex matters."

Angela Salt, CEO of Girlguiding, said:

"We are looking into this as a matter of urgency and will provide the necessary support and action in line with our compliance procedures."

May blasts BRITs

Queen guitarist Brian May has spoken out against the decision by organisers of the Brit awards to stop having separate categories for male and female performers from 2022, in part to accommodate performers like Sam Smith, a man who identifies as non-binary.

May said of the late Freddie Mercury:

"He was a musician. He was our friend, our brother. We didn’t have to stop and think, 'Oh should we work with him? Is he the right colour or the right sex?'"

He added:

"There is an atmosphere of fear everywhere because people are afraid to say how they really think. I think there is a pressure building up as so many people are feeling, 'Hang on. This isn’t quite right,'" but they don’t dare say anything."

Number of trans-identified prisoners rises

The number of prison inmates who identify as transgender but do not have a gender recognition certificate (GRC) has increased by 21% compared with 2019.

Figures from the Offender Equalities Annual Report show that, of prisoners who identify as trans, 146 identified as female; 39 as male; 11 as non-binary and one did not give details.

In 2016, 70 prisoners identified as transgender. This increased to 125 in 2017, 139 in 2018 and 163 in 2019. No data were collected in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Kate Coleman from the campaign group Keep Prisons Single Sex said:

"As the numbers increase, so does the risk to women in prison due to Ministry of Justice policies that permit some of these prisoners to be housed in the female estate."

Joanna Cherry questions Stonewall link

This week saw Joanna Cherry MP ask Home Secretary Priti Patel whether the Home Office plans to leave the Stonewall Diversity schemes. 

The SNP member, who is an outspoken defender of women's sex-based rights, said that "a number of government departments" had left "over concerns about the misrepresentation of equalities law and the resultant failure to respect the rights of all protected characteristics".

Patel replied that she would respond in writing and "tell her what the overall position is across Government".

Germany promises self-id
A new coalition government in Germany is set to see gender self-identification made law. Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Democrats agreed plans that will "abolish the transsexual law and replace it with a self-determination law".

In addition, conversion therapy will be banned (to include gender identity), statutory insurance will cover "gender reassignment procedures" and the door will be open for people to claim compensation if they feel harmed by "former gender change requirements."

The Women's Human Rights Coalition Germany said:

"Now it is time to educate further and be resistant. We'll win in the end. Sex can never be abolished or changed."

What to read and watch

Read Conservative Mark Jenkinson MP's account of coming out as gender-critical.


Listen to actor James Dreyfus talk to Spiked's Brendan O'Neill about his experience of "woke homophobia" and harassment by trans activists.

Read this ground-breaking article by child psychologist Dr Laura Edwards-Leeper and psychotherapist Dr Erica Anderson. Both work within the paediatric gender-transitioning industry, but express deep concerns about widespread malpractice. This is is a first for a mainstream left-leaning US publication.

Watch The Trans Train". Made in 2019, it's a compelling Swedish documentary (with subtitles in English) exploring the increasing numbers of young people seeking to medically transition.

Watch Kellie-Jay Keen and Peter Tatchell go head-to-head on GB News in a discussion about sex categories in sport.
And finally...
Eddie Redmayne this week apologised for...acting. Redmayne said portraying transsexual Lily Elbe in 2015 film The Danish Girl had been "a mistake". 

Still, Redmayne's mea culpa was not enough for trans playwright and performer Tabby Lamb. Lamb bitterly complained in The Metro about the actor's work with J.K. Rowling, saying that Redmayne "is still set to appear in the upcoming third Fantastic Beasts movie". 
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