Stonewall’s big policy shift came in 2015. In its “Vision for Change: Acceptance without Exception for Trans People” document, it argued that trans people have the right “to determine their own gender” rather than leaving “intrusive and demeaning” medical panels or legal experts to decide for them. It simultaneously lobbied to have an inner feeling of gender identity (in Stonewall terminology: “a person’s innate sense of their own gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth”) replace gender reassignment as a protected characteristic in the Equality Act; and to have non-binary identities (roughly, an inner feeling of being neither man nor woman) legally recognised. Perhaps most controversially of all, it lobbied to have exemptions for single-sex services and spaces removed from the Equality Act, so that there could be no space or resource designated only on the basis of biological sex. Goodbye, “exclusionary” bathrooms, changing rooms, and sport—or so Stonewall hoped.
A glossy Stonewall document entitled “Delivering LGBT-inclusive Higher Education” tells universities that inviting “anti-LGBT” speakers who deny “that trans people exist as the gender they say they are” causes LGBT people “to feel deeply unsafe”.
The Diversity Champions scheme now allows Stonewall to exert a chilling grip on free thought and expression about gender identity. While the government consults the public on whether to reform gender laws, it simultaneously pays Stonewall to lobby to change them.