Senior officials quit UK’s so-called equalities watchdog over alleged transphobia

Seven senior officials have reportedly stepped down from the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), allegedly due to the organisation becoming “more and more transphobic”.

Those who have quit the EHRC includes a board member, an executive director, four other directors and a committee member – and all left as recently as last week, Vice News reported.

More are resignations are expected in the coming months.

The EHRC, which was established in 2007, exists to monitor and enforce equality and non-discrimination laws in England, Wales and Scotland – with particular focus on the legislation covering protected characteristics, which include sex and sexual orientation, gender reassignment, race, religion, age and disability.

Although not a government department, its senior leaders are governmental appointees.

According to one staff member, the resignations were triggered by the “transphobic direction” the EHRC is being taken.

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“I think that’s quite clear,” they told Vice.

“The EHRC is having a really, really damaging impact right now. It’s sending a strong message to trans people that your rights don’t matter.”

Sources directly blamed the resignations on the months of preparation to provide the minister for women and equalities, Kemi Badenoch, with advice on how to amend the UK’s Equality Act.

That includes advice, sent to the minister recently, which could inform decisions ultimately preventing trans people from entering some single-sex spaces.

‘They don’t want to be attached to this mess’

Speaking in agreement with the first staff member, another warned that the resignations gave “gender-critical bosses what they want, because lots of the job roles aren’t being replaced”.

They told Vice News that that meant “the EHRC is becoming more and more transphobic, without anyone willing to fight back”.

The staff member added: “These are senior people who have committed their lives and careers to protecting human rights and promoting diversity – they don’t want to be attached to this mess.”

A third staff member accused the EHRC of “inflaming a culture war”.

They claimed: “There has been no effort made to look for evidence on any actual real-life issues in relation to the policy of rights between [cis] women and trans people, and it just seems to be a case of going full-steam ahead without considering any evidence,” they said.

People involved in current EHRC publications are reportedly very unhappy, they added.

“They’ve been expressing their discomfort for a while. Clearly, now enough is enough.”

An EHRC spokesperson told PinkNews: “Reports that seven senior officials have resigned in relation to transphobia are completely inaccurate.”

They added that the commission “wholeheartedly” rejected any accusations it had become transphobic.

“Our job is to protect and promote equality and human rights for everyone in Britain, including trans people, and we continue to take a range of action to achieve this.”

The spokesperson insisted that EHRC has “repeatedly championed the rights of trans people to the Department of Health and Social Care”.

They added: “Where rights may overlap, our role is to advise on striking an appropriate balance. We provided this advice impartially, including when matters might be contentious.”

A government spokesperson told Vice that ministers had confidence “in the ongoing work of the commission in championing the cause of equality”.

They highlighted that the EHRC was an independent public body and that it was “routine” for the minister to seek advice from the commission “across a range of issues”.

Last year, The National reported that two former EHRC legal directors appeared to call for the body to be stripped of its independent status.

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