Work in private practice? Take the RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2023 survey

law soc trans changes

An evolving outlook.


The Law Society has amended its template policy on gender identity to acknowledge that single sex spaces in law firms may be permissible, and to remove the automatic right for people to use the toilets and changing rooms of their choice.

The template is intended to be adopted by law firms so they can assist staff who wish to "transition or change their gender expression".

It originally informed staff going public with their new ‘gender identity’ that they could "choose the facilities that make you feel most comfortable", and that "You are free to change your mind at any time".

Feminist lawyers told RollOnFriday that by granting staff the right to pick their toilets and changing rooms, the policy effectively abolished single sex spaces within firms which adopted it.

However, that section of the policy has been deleted, and the replacement clause promises only that "We will discuss with you which toilet and changing facilities make you feel most comfortable and you would like to use".

The new template also notes that it "may be permissible" to exclude a trans person from the facilities which match their gender identity, "but only where it is justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim", mirroring wording in the Equality Act 2010. 

A spokesperson for the Law Society told RollOnFriday that, "In most workplaces, trans and non-binary staff should be able to use toilets or facilities they feel most comfortable with and which match the gender in which they identify. There may be some limited circumstances - and only where it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim – where this is not possible. We recognise that employers should take responsibility for managing the communication with other staff as well".

Any law firm adopting the original template would have carried across a declaration that it "is recognised" that the Equality Act and the Gender Recognition Act 2004 "fall short in protecting and assisting the trans and non-binary community" and that the firm "intends to exceed the requirements of these statutes and celebrate all gender identities and expressions". 

The assertion that current legislation is inadequate has been excised from the new template, reflecting some lawyers' concerns that exceeding the requirements of legislation in favour of one group could mean encroaching on the protection it affords to others.

The template was overhauled in June after an Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled in favour of think tank worker Maya Forstater that the 'gender critical' belief that sex is binary and people cannot change their sex is protected under the Equality Act 2010, as is the opposing belief in 'gender identity'.

The Law Society's spokesperson said that "All our guidance is subject to review from time to time and in this case we have looked again at our template and adjusted the wording to mirror the EHRC’s Code of Practice which we reference". 

However, a lawyer who requested anonymity told RollOnFriday that the Law Society's template still required work following the Forstater judgment.

"The general tenor of the policy in recognising that transitioning staff need to be treated with dignity and respect, and given every reasonable assistance in their transition, is laudable", said the lawyer. 

"This does not however require the full acceptance of gender identity theory which is evident in the policy", they said. "In failing to reflect that many people do not share that belief (and are protected in law from discrimination for so doing), the policy risks causing unlawful discrimination by any firm or lawyer that adopts it."

The Law Society's spokesperson said, "Trans people are some of the most marginalised in our society. The Law Society is committed to creating workplaces that have diversity and inclusion at their heart".

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Dearie 25 June 21 08:26

“Trans people are some of the most marginalised”? Really? Just because there’s not a lot of them? Do women have to start playing victimhood top trumps for their protected rights to be recognised? 

Anonymous 25 June 21 09:02

Toilets are just an artificial construct really though.  I mean they're not real, permanent, immutable expressions of space.  A toilet can be transformed into a living room or an office with a little work and a good builder.  Equally a cubicle can be made into a toilet without much effort.

And note that word.  Cubicle.

We have cubicles in toilets as well as offices.

And now I'm going to take a dump in my filing cabinet.

RedGreenBlue 25 June 21 09:23

If we don't look put for other marginalised groups suffering discrimination, how can we expect others to look out for us?

Gobblepig 25 June 21 09:32

FFS. We are twisting ourselves in knots in order to appease a tiny group of highly vocal activists whose views are wholly devoid of rationality or scientific content. 

If law firms want to do anything to assuage the non-binary "community", they should just designate one loo "non-binary". Problem solved. 

Anonymous 25 June 21 09:43

Another day, another trans story. But I've never actually met a trans person in real life. 

IDD64 25 June 21 09:48

The constant repetition of "most marginalised" is a shaming technique to silence others for speaking for their own needs. There are many marginalised demographics, with their own specific requirements, that also need to be balanced. The main example is that the Law Society's policy did not balance are the needs of women for privacy, safety and dignity or indeed that some women, for other reasons, may not be comfortable sharing facilities with trans women, given many haven't fully surgically transitioned, or AMAB non-binary/genderfluid people. Women also have specific needs due to our female physiology that transwomen/other AMAB people simply do not have. Ignoring women's needs entirely privileges transwomen's needs - and that is neither equal nor equitable.

Anonymous 25 June 21 10:44

@09:02 could your filing cabinet not be persuaded to self-identify as a chamber pot? 

That way it would actually be one and you could dump in it all day long with nary a care in the world.

 

Colleagues complaining? Saying that it's clearly a filing cabinet and that you're soiling valuable records? Damn them all as bigots.

Anonymous 25 June 21 10:47

08:26, and 09:48 are right.

What exactly is it about trans peoples' collective experience that makes them some of the 'most marginalised' in UK society? What marginalisation is it that they say they suffer which other groups don't?

Trans-activists parrot the phrase all the time - it's almost their default response to disagreement - but it isn't clear what form they say this marginalisation takes. Everyone seems to just be supposed to take it on faith and nod along.

Melissa Martin 25 June 21 10:49

How ridiculous that the Law Society put into writing a declaration that people should ignore the Law.  

Marshall Hall 25 June 21 10:50

Please can we abolish the Law Society?

Or else please sack all executives who have been captured so obviously by the trans lobby?

Coleslaw 25 June 21 11:04

If you are against trans women using female spaces because you don’t accept them as women, you are going to end up with trans men using your spaces because you don’t accept them as men. Will that make you feel any more comfortable?

Anonymous 25 June 21 11:04

"I'm a huge fan of marginalia. Who will speak for me?"

It depends, do you have male marginalia or female marginalia?

Anonymous 25 June 21 11:20

"If you are against trans women using female spaces because you don’t accept them as women, you are going to end up with trans men using your spaces because you don’t accept them as men."

Negative.

The filing cabinet that self-identified as a chamber pot stands ready to do its duty.

Grahame Jackson 25 June 21 11:21

Making and encouraging others to make errors in law is the job of campaign groups. Law Soc is supposed to have the back of all solicitors and this could have left well meaning employers exposed. 

Not good enough. 

Beryl P. Errol 25 June 21 13:54

Thinking of the London borough that has adopted the choose-your-own-toilet policy, that includes showers and changing rooms. These were installed to encourage cycling to work, most laudable. Worked great, lots of women using this and starting to cycle in. Until one transwomen decided it was OK to use the space and wander round naked (though discretion was the norm before that). And... all the women stopped using the space. 

Anonymous 25 June 21 14:00

This should never have been published.  Which extreme minority ideology will they campaign for next?  Maybe the rights of furries to cock their legs and pee up against the office walls.

Anonymous 25 June 21 15:24

How did it get so complicated.

I'm old enough to remember feminism and the idea that stereotyping people because of their gender or sex or sexuality was considered unhelpful.

If only boys weren't so worried about being called gay none of this would be a problem.

Lydia 25 June 21 15:41

This is very good news. Women (half the UK) have often been attacked by men and the last thing we want is someone with a penis or who makes a mess in the loos in our personal space. The tiny tiny number of transmen out there who have not had surgery can surely use the disabled toilets.

 

Some men have always been very exhibitionist in any public space and plenty get off on it whether trans or not. Week after week there are people prosecuted for upskirting, cameras on tubes, hidden cameras in landlord's houses etc etc.   Girls and women spend their lives avoiding this kind of stuff. The thrust even just 1 in 100 transpeople who might be like this or normal male perverts who choose to pretend to be trans to get off on thrusting their way into women's spaces means yet again women are lowest of the low and  a version of men are pushed above us and taking a tiny thing that is ours away - privacy in our own space.

T Pog 25 June 21 17:09

Coleslaw 11.04: I’m fine with any females sharing an enclosed space with me where I’m dealing with my body. So trans men welcome (but they’d probably not want to use the facility). Law Soc offers no data to prove that ‘trans people are the most marginalised’.  Repeating it doesn’t make it so. There are twice as many trans people working in the legal profession - and at the BBC - as in the general population (figure given to me by the SRA); this suggests less ‘marginalised’, more ‘influential’. Then there’s my (lovely) cousin, a millionaire global banker (and trans woman in their 50s) who volunteered to me: “I never would have gotten so far in my career if I’d been born a woman”. Quite.  The problem with the Law Soc and other institutions creating a hierarchy of oppression is that it privileges an entire, diverse group and discounts other, protected groups, many members of whom are genuinely marginalised and discriminated against. I’m particularly concerned at how disabilities have vanished off the ‘equality’ statements put out by such orgs. 

Anonymous 25 June 21 18:00

Women are repeatedly saying they’re not comfortable sharing a toilet with a man. However he identifies. Mixed sex toilet is for anyone who wants to use it. But the women’s toilet is for women  only. 

Ffs 25 June 21 18:54

"A spokesperson for the Law Society told RollOnFriday that, "In most workplaces, trans and non-binary staff should be able to use toilets or facilities they feel most comfortable with and which match the gender in which they identify. There may be some limited circumstances ... where this is not possible."

This sounds like the onus is put on women to prove exceptional cirumstances. So what - we have to produce a police report of rape? A psychiatrist's diagnosis of PTSD?

This can not be said to be either fair or just.

Women have a right to single sex spaces FULL STOP!

Anon 25 June 21 20:11

I find it interesting that there are far more men wanting to be women or identifying as women than there are women wanting to be men or identifying as men.  

Otterly 25 June 21 22:10

How ridiculous that even the Law Society were giving out info that contradicted the Equality Act in the first place. It just shows how many organisations are in the thrall of transgender ideology and will happily throw women's rights under the bus in order to appease men.

Marge Inn 25 June 21 23:45

I’m contemplating having my margins altogether removed. Is there a Law Society hotline I can call for advice?

Sietse Brouwer 26 June 21 01:04

There are some facts that commenters above me might care to know, to inform their opinions. 

Firstly, the bathroom assault argument has been repeatedly investigated and found to be untrue.

- "CNN reached out to 20 law enforcement agencies in states with anti-discrimination policies covering gender identity. None who answered reported any bathroom assaults after the policies took effect." [CNN]

- from the peer-reviewed journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy (Springer): "This study finds that the passage of [gender identity inclusive public accommodations nondiscrimination laws] is not related to the number or frequency of criminal incidents in these spaces. Additionally, the study finds that reports of privacy and safety violations in public restrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms are exceedingly rare. This study provides evidence that fears of increased safety and privacy violations as a result of nondiscrimination laws are not empirically grounded." [SRSP]

Secondly: trans women really are different from cis men. Gender and sex do not always align. Trans boys already know they are boys, and trans girls already know they are girls — both consciously, and in tests of subconscious assocation speed. [3]

Thirdly, you may be interested to know that the big organisations with anti-trans lobbies also lobby for anti-gay and -lesbian and anti-abortion bills, and promote reactionary views of women's role in society. [d] This is not a small lobby: anti-gender funding across Europe was 709 million US dollars in the last 10 years, of which 40% came from US and Russian sources. [4]

Trans women are no danger to cis women. Read the data in [1] and [2] again -- read the facts and draw your own conclusions.

[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/07/health/transgender-bathroom-law-facts-myths/index.html

[2] Hasenbush, Flores, and Herman (2018), "Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Laws in Public Accommodations: a Review of Evidence Regarding Safety and Privacy in Public Restrooms, Locker Rooms, and Changing Rooms", Journal of Sexuality Research and Social Policy,
  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13178-018-0335-z

[3] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/when-sex-and-gender-collide/

> "Furthermore, when predicting their identities into the future, trans girls see themselves becoming women and trans boys feel that they will be men, just as other girls and boys do. Even when we present children with more indirect or implicit measures of gender identity—the measures that assess reaction times rather than children's more explicit words and actions—we have found that trans girls see themselves as girls and trans boys see themselves as boys, suggesting that these identities are held at lower levels of conscious awareness. All this research combines to show that transgender identities in even very young children are surprisingly solid and consistent across measures, contradicting popular beliefs that such feelings are fleeting or that children are simply pretending to be the opposite gender."

[4] Neil Data and EPF (2021), "Tip of the Iceberg: Religious Extremist Funders against Human Rights for Sexuality & Reproductive Health in Europe". Report made to the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.
  https://www.epfweb.org/node/837

 

Oh, and one for the road – this is about sex, not gender, but this diagram of how much we already know about the biological pathways governing sex attributes is too beautiful not to share:

- https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/beyond-xx-and-xy-the-extraordinary-complexity-of-sex-determination/
- Direct link to the diagram: https://static.scientificamerican.com/sciam/cache/file/164FE5CE-FBA6-493F-B9EA84B04830354E_source.jpg
 

Grant 26 June 21 10:05

I can think of people with positions of authority who are invited into all the law firms, which bend over backwards to do their bidding, who don’t seem very marginalised to me. 

Males who rocket through their careers as men and then transition don’t seem very marginalised to me, either. They just keep saying it. 

Destransitioners do seem very marginalised though. And adult human females. But the law soc doesn’t appear to think it worth putting out statements let alone policies about them. I wonder why that might be.

Perhaps they’re just too marginal. 

pip 26 June 21 11:38

"There are some facts that commenters above me might care to know, to inform their opinions. 

Firstly, the bathroom assault argument has been repeatedly investigated and found to be untrue."

Really ???

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/women/sexual-assault-unisex-changing-rooms-sunday-times-women-risk-a8519086.html

Adnil 26 June 21 19:38

There may be few reports of assaults in unisex toilets because women don't use them if they feel unsafe. Camden Town's underground public loo for example. Very secluded, very small doors (easy to look over or under),very scary. Tough if you have a weak bladder or bowel.

Sietse 26 June 21 22:33

@pip

Thank you for the link to the article, I have read it with interest.

Notice that unisex changing rooms are different from trans-inclusive women's changing rooms.

The Independent's article notes that, compared to women-only changing rooms, more assaults happen in changing rooms where cis men, trans men, cis women, and trans women are allowed. [1]

It does not state who the recorded perpetrators are, but we know from past crime statistics that assaults on women are generally committed by cis men.

CNN's article notes that in 20 US states, after women-only changing rooms become open to both cis and trans women (but not to cis men), changing room assault rates did not increase and no assaults by trans women were recorded. [2]

Hasenbush et al. 2018 note the same as CNN when comparing localities that pass trans-inclusive bathroom ordinances to matched localities that didn't; so where CNN compared 'before' and 'after', Hasenbush et al. see the same effect when comparing different places at the same time. [3]

So: changing room assault rates rise when cis men share spaces with women.

But changing room assault rates remain the same when changing rooms go from cis-women-only to cis and trans women.

So the Independent's article gives us no reason to fear trans women. It mentions increased assaults in unisex changing rooms, but cis men are a sufficient explanation for these. Other data corroborate that trans women pose no threat.

Thank you for reading this.

----

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/women/sexual-assault-unisex-changing-rooms-sunday-times-women-risk-a8519086.html

[2] https://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/07/health/transgender-bathroom-law-facts-myths/index.html

[3] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13178-018-0335-z

Anonymous 26 June 21 22:52

There's an entire website (transcrime UK) where examples can be found. Katie Dolatowski is one obvious example, he molested a child in a supermarket toilet. The Women Are Human website lists many from abroad.

And there's no way to divide "transwomen" from other men. So effectively making women's toilets all unisex. In schools girls are getting bladder infections from refusing to use unisex toilets. 

Thepignotthechicken 27 June 21 07:30

*Secondly: trans women really are different from cis men. Gender and sex do not always align. Trans boys already know they are boys, and trans girls already know they are girls — both consciously, and in tests of subconscious assocation speed. [3]*
Not the point though. This is generally accepted and why people suggest a middle ground. The point is that trans women are also different from women born as women. And these biological differences while widespread in impact are particularly obvious in the several reasons women use toilets and bathrooms. Trans women’s differences from men do not entitle them to women’s bathrooms by default. 

Bored of the lies 27 June 21 08:15

I want to see the evidence that transgender people are the most marginalised people in society.

I would argue that people who are not out are more marginalised.

I would say some gay muslim males from pakistan are more maginalized than say Eddie Izzard who is out and being lauded by media outlets and given air time.

Butch lesbians possibly more marginalised.

Women suffering domestic violence being let down by most police organisations are more marginalised.

Women victims of the crime of rape who rarely get their day in court are surely far more marginalised.

I also challenge the idea that men who wear dresses suffer more violence and abuse than women. More than 300 women are murdered every year. When was the last transvestite murdered in the UK? Years ago and probably by his boyfriend - not likely a random murder in the street or a public toilet. So a domestic violence case.

I think crossdressing men are abused not for wearing a dress but because men assume they are gay so it's more likely a homophobic attack than anything to do with the gender noconformity they 'feel'.

I don't believe men in dresses are being beaten up in men's toilets either. If they are then call the police and make those toilets safe. Or provide an accessible toilet where we can all feel safe. What a strange idea that they should, by default, be able to come into women's toilets. How would anyone think of that as an idea, unless of course they just see women as second class citizens.

This is the essence here. People see women as second class citizens and so their rights aren't valid to many people - shockingly this appears to be true for The Law Society.

And as for Sieste,

There is much evidence that criminal behaviour of men does not decrease when the 'identify' as female. In fact, the data for such people in UK men's prisons shows that these men have a sexual offending rate of 57% compaired to 7% of men who do not identify as trans. The offending rate of women AND trans women in women's prisons is recorded as 3%. They don't separate the data out between women and trans women in the female estate so we don't know how many of those people in the female estate are actualy males who identify as trans.

The evidence has been mutillated for years so any evidence you have showing that trans women are perfectly safe probably comes drom a lack of recorded data. If Courts and prisons don't have to keep data on men who claim to be women as such then they will be recorded as women and the data becomes non-existent.

Women don't want these men, who claim they are women, in their spaces. If they weren't so very marginalised because of their sex we would probably listening to them!

Anonymous 28 June 21 08:33

Women don't want these men, who claim they are women, in their spaces.

There's a fair bit of evidence to show that some women do.

That's why it's been so controversial.  If it was a universally held opinion Germaine Greer, JK Rowling and others would be universally supported.  That is not the case

Anonymous 28 June 21 09:58

"There's a fair bit of evidence to show that some women do."

I can't help but feel that statement is missing a very important prefix somewhere...

 

Or that it's got one too many w's and one too many o's in it.

Anonymous 28 June 21 10:31

I can't help but feel that statement is missing a very important prefix somewhere...

 

Or that it's got one too many w's and one too many o's in it.

Perhaps that sounded cleverer in your head.

It doesn't take much effort to find women getting very angry with one another about trans rights.  You can pretend it's all one-sided if you like, but it won't be true.

Related News