Another Conservative police commissioner attacks Stonewall’s support for trans rights

Stonewall claims 'coordinated attacks' by British media over trans guidance

Another Conservative police and crime commissioner has attacked Stonewall for its support of trans rights.

Philip Wilkinson, the freshly-elected Conservative police and crime commissioner (PCC) for the south-west county of Wiltshire, accused the charity of promoting an “exclusive, divisive and potentially dangerous ideology”.

In a statement shared to right-wing outlet Conservative Home, Wilkinson said Wiltshire Police has bowed out from Stonewall’s diversity champions programme – a scheme that sees it work with hundreds of organisations to uplift queer staff.

The force is instead now a member of the “Inclusive Companies Scheme”, the Gazette & Herald newspaper reported.

The government and the press have rampantly attacked the programme in recent months. In August, OFCOM announced it had quit the programme, citing a risk of “perceived bias” – an excuse which drew heavy criticism.

Despite this, membership has actually increased by 24 per cent in the last four years.

According to data from Stonewall shared with PinkNews, 720 entities had signed up to the Stonewall scheme in 2017. By 2021, it had soared to 892.

Police commissioner’s ‘assumptions’ about trans people are ‘inappropriate’, say Stonewall

PCC Wilkinson said: “I believe that we should treat every other human being with respect and courtesy irrespective of their sex, gender or sexual orientation.

“I will therefore not support any organisation that promotes a narrow ideology that is exclusive, divisive and potentially dangerous.”

He said that he “agrees entirely” with Lisa Townsend, his Surrey counterpart who accused Stonewall of pushing a “dangerous ideology” while demanding her force withdraw from the Diversity Champions scheme.

“Like her, I do not believe that the vast majority of women in this country wish to allow biological men into their private enclosed spaces such as women’s prisons and female toilets,” Wilkinson said, adding that the charity’s pioneering efforts to advance trans rights in the country are a “matter of public security and not inclusiveness”.

Under the Equality Act 2010, trans people have the legal right to access the correct single-sex facilities. Furthermore, there is no evidence that letting trans people use public facilities that align with their gender identity increases safety risks, according to a study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. Such a belief, activists say, is a “myth“.

The “vast majority of women in this country” do, in fact, support trans women – who are women, by the way – using the facilities appropriate for their gender, according to a 2020 YouGov survey on behalf of PinkNews.

A thumping 57 per cent of women surveyed agreed that trans people should be able to self-identify.

On the Wiltshire Police force departing the Stonewall diversity scheme, a spokesperson told Gazette & Herald: “Wiltshire Police is committed to increasing diversity within the force so that we can best reflect the communities we serve.

“We are determined to cultivate an inclusive environment which champions the rights of every single officer, staff member and volunteer.

“Following research undertaken by our equality, diversity and inclusion team earlier this year, we took the decision not to renew our membership with Stonewall and, like some other police forces, we are members of the Inclusive Companies scheme and are working towards our aspiration of becoming part of the Inclusive Companies Top 50 Employers Index.”

A Stonewall spokesperson told PinkNews: “Trans people are who they say they are, which is why they have always been able to use facilities that match their gender, without issue.

“Our inclusion policies are based on evidence, and there is no statistical evidence to suggest that LGBTQ+ inclusion compromises anyone’s safety – in fact, the majority of women (66 per cent) reported that they were comfortable with trans people using public toilets corresponding to their gender.

“Lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer inclusion makes the world a safer place for all of us, and it’s disappointing that in 2021, this can still be thought of as controversial.”