Wales government to redefine women to include trans women in landmark gender laws

A person holds up a trans flag.

Wales’s government has outlined plans to redefine the woman so that trans women are included.

A draft of the Welsh government’s Gender Quotas Bill, which was leaked on Sunday night (29 October) and seen by The Telegraph, proposes plans for a gender-balanced Senedd by having set equal quotas for male and female political candidates.

Under this draft bill, the definition of a woman will be updated, so that the female quota of candidates may include trans women.

A person holding a trans flag in the sky.
The Welsh government’s draft bill would see trans women included in the definition of women. (Getty)

Political candidates will be allowed to self-identify their gender when running for the Senedd, according to the leaked draft.

A definition of transgender in the draft bill reads: “A person who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning [their] sex to female by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.”

The draft also suggests that no constituency returning officer would be allowed to challenge or make an inquiry in relation to a candidate’s identity.

You may like to watch

This bill echoes a similar plan put forward by the Scottish government in January that would have made it easier for people to legally change their gender, which was sadly blocked by the UK government.

The leak has had a mixed response from the public. While the trans community and its advocates are pleased with the progressive step forward, anti-trans hate groups and so-called women’s rights groups are up in arms.

Cathay Larkman, Welsh co-ordinator of the Women’s Rights Network, told The Telegraph that the leaked bill was sure to see men self-identifying as women to improve their chances of selection and push female candidates out.

“We are putting the Welsh Government on notice. Women will organise to fight this attack on our rights. This is a first step towards full self-ID in law,” she argued.

“It would introduce gender self-identification which has serious implications for women and girls in particular, with regards to single-sex spaces and services, including in changing rooms, sports, same-sex intimate care, hospital wards, rape crisis support and domestic violence centres.”

Commenting on the leaked bill, a spokesperson for the Welsh Government told The Telegraph that it did not represent the latest version of the Gender Quotas Bill, though they did not say whether that had to do with the redefinition of women.

“Our proposed model for quotas is designed to maximize the chances of achieving a Senedd comprised of at least 50 per cent women. Work is ongoing on the Bill,” said the spokesperson.

The first minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has been a longtime defender of transgender rights, and has repeatedly shared his pro-trans beliefs in the Senedd.

A photo shows first minister of Wales Mark Drakeford wearing a grey suit jacket, white shirt, red tie and glasses as he smiles at the camera
The first minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has made it clear that he is pro-trans rights. (Getty/Matthew Horwood)

In an almost anti-Rishi-Sunak speech last year, Drakeford told the Welsh parliament: “My starting point is the same as Penny Mordaunt’s – the UK minister responsible at the time – who said that the UK government’s starting point was that transgender women are women. That’s my starting point in this debate.

“It is a difficult area where people feel very strongly on different sides of an argument, and an argument that divides people who agree on most other things.

“In such a potentially divisive issue, the responsibility of elected representatives is not to stand on the certainties of their own convictions, but instead to work hard to look for opportunities for dialogue, to find ways of promoting understanding rather than conflict, and to demonstrate respect rather than to look for exclusion … to me, inclusivity is absolutely what we should be aiming for here.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.