We are Fionne Orlander and Miranda Yardley, both of us transwomen. We recognise that we, as transwomen, are biologically male; we are not the same as women and our lives differ from those lived by women. We are asking you to support our call for the provision of Third Spaces for transgender individuals of both sexes.
We as transwomen share concerns with women, we share a need for dignity and privacy when using public spaces such as washrooms and changing rooms, and specifically we are concerned about the risk to us of abusive behaviour and physical and sexual assault when sharing single-sex spaces with other males.
In recognising our lives are different from women’s lives, we recognise and support single sex spaces for women, and support the right of women’s organisations under the Equality Act to provide services exclusively to women and girls, who may in a number of circumstances have lived under fear of or experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of men, who overwhelmingly commit the majority of physical and sexual violence.
In recognition that women should have access to single sex spaces, and in recognition of our own concern and fear of using single sex spaces designated for males, we call on all political parties to recognise the need for the provision of publicly funded third spaces for transgender individuals of either sex, to allow us to participate fully in public life without imposing ourselves on those single sex places presently enjoyed by women.
Specifically we call for publicly funded Third Spaces in respect of the following:
- Public washrooms and changing rooms, including those at schools, leisure centres and other publicly funded institutions;
- Hospital wards and other NHS facilities that are presently single sex;
- Prisons, remand centres and all other parts of HM Prison Service;
- For the provision of relief centres for transgender individuals who have been physically or sexually assaulted, or who are fleeing or need protection from abusive partners.