Britain is considering plans to create a distinction in equality laws between a person who was born a particular sex and someone who has transitioned to become that sex.
Britain’s minister for women and equalities, Kemi Badenoch, wrote to the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the equalities watchdog, to say she wanted her to consider the “benefits or otherwise” of changing the legal definition of sex.
In a letter dated Feb. 21 and first published on Tuesday, Badenoch requested advice on the change, citing issues raised by recent court cases involving the definition of sex in Britain’s 2010 Equalities Act, and attempts in Scotland to make it easier for people to change their legal gender.
“Among these is the consideration about whether the definition of ‘sex’ is sufficiently clear and strikes the appropriate balance of interests between different protected characteristics,” Badenoch wrote
The move comes after Britain’s government earlier this year blocked gender reform laws passed by Scotland’s devolved parliament.
In response to Badenoch’s letter, Kishwer Falkner, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the move “merits further consideration” and that it should involve “detailed policy and legal analysis.”
“A change to the Equality Act 2010, so that the protected characteristic of ‘sex’ means biological sex, could bring clarity in a number of areas, but potential ambiguity in others,” she said in a statement accompanying her reply and published on the commission’s website.
Falkner said the move could bring “greater legal clarity” in eight areas, including sport and pregnancy and maternity protections. She outlined three areas in which it could be more ambiguous or potentially disadvantageous: equal pay provisions, and both direct and indirect sex