Reply To: Transgender child and bedroom allowance

Andy Thurman

“I think using the term ‘gender’ muddies the waters on what is a straightforward matter of biology.”??

The phrase “opposite sex” is a reference to gender.

I’m really not sure how sexuality can be described as straightforward – regarding the children under 10, yes, that is exactly my point – at some point, soon after that age, the issue of gender identity, due to puberty, will be of far greater importance.

So, for a non-binary 14 year old, it is not an over-simplification to suggest that they (or their ‘binary’ sibling) would not feel as awkward sharing as 2 binary teenagers (1 male, 1 female) that the law would currently describe as “of the opposite sex”.

To put it a little bluntly, a teenager’s sense of identity regarding sexuality cannot simply be seen as “are there dangly bits or not?”. There are other factors (including biological ones e.g. hormone levels) that define that.

My point regarding the case law was that it is quite presumptuous to assume the current law will not be similarly found to be discriminatory (but on the grounds of gender rather than disability) – I am not saying it definitely would but that an understanding of gender recognition etc different from that in 1985 means there must be a serious question mark over a simple definition of the “opposite” sex.

I don’t pretend to know all the biology or exactly if/how legislation should be changed but I don’t think we should overlook/ignore the complexities of non-binary gender just because it would be less straight forward to deal with.

**Edited to add – Let’s not forget that the law did not even recognise same sex relationships for nearly 20 years after the Housing Act 1985. Just for context in the evolution of the law regarding diversity and discrimination.