Frank views on gender identity and immigration should be protected by hate crime laws, according to a new Law Commission report released today.
The findings of a consultation with the commission, an independent body that recommends legal changes, said those who express critical views on gender – defined as “a belief that sex is binary and unchanging and that a person cannot cannot change sex â- should be protected under a newâ freedom of expression âclause.
Maya Forstater, who won a landmark appeal against an employment tribunal ruling after losing her job for saying people can’t change their biological sex, said it was “a justification for her battle to say basic truths about both sexes, âthe Daily Telegraph reported.
The report – which proposes the biggest overhaul of hate crime laws in decades – said protection for critical gender views would extend to the use of language and pronouns. However, he added that an âinterferenceâ with a person’s right to express such opinions could be justified âfor example if it amounted to unlawful harassmentâ.
Opinions on migration
The committee also recommended the introduction of a new protection of âfreedom of expressionâ for discussion and criticism of immigration, citizenship and asylum policy.
An example was given when former Home Secretary Amber Rudd was investigated over a 2016 speech at the Conservative Party conference, in which she suggested that companies might be required to disclose the proportion of foreign workers they employ.
“Despite the finding that no offense had been committed, West Midlands Police recorded it as a non-criminal hate incident,” the report explained.
Therefore, the commission added, the potential for people to file “politically motivated and vexatious complaints” under current hate crime laws “is real.” “If these are (rightly) rejected by police and / or prosecutors, there is a real danger that in the absence of a consent provision, private prosecution will be initiated.”
Proposal of misogyny rejected
The report rejected a proposal to make misogyny a hate crime, concluding that “simply adding sex or gender to hate crime laws” was “unlikely to capture much of public sexual harassment.” . Instead, he recommended “more targeted options,” for example introducing a possible public offense of sexual harassment, separate from hate crime laws.
A statement by 20 leading organizations and activists for women’s rights and hate crimes, released by The Guardian, said the commission had failed to address “widespread concerns about the justice system’s lack of action. criminal “and had not” recognized the value of including misogyny to allow the recording of incidents, which are currently invisible “.
“A leap forward for the safety of LGBTQ + people”
LGBTQ + activists applauded the Law Commission for recommending that the term âtransgender identity,â which currently appears in hate crime laws, be replaced with âtransgender or diverse gender identityâ.
This would mean including people who are transgender or transgender men or women, people of various genders (such as non-binary people) and those who do not conform to conventional male or female gender expectations (eg. example, people crossing -robe).
Stonewall described the report as “a huge leap forward for the safety of LGBTQ + people.” In a long Twitter thread, the charity said the commission had “displayed its commitment” to ensuring that “the UK’s most marginalized communities are better protected by hate crime legislation”.
Stonewall also praised the Law Commission’s âinclusive approachâ in broadening the definition of sexual orientation and trans identities to ensure the protection of âasexual, non-binary and gender-diverse peopleâ.
However, the association added that it was “deeply disappointed” by the recommendation not to make misogyny a hate crime. âMisogyny in our society is pervasive, deeply rooted and deeply damaging,â the association said, adding, âThis provision is crucial if women, including LGBTQ + women, are to be protected from hate crimes.
In a statement provided to the BBC, the Home Office promised to review the committee’s proposals “carefully” and “respond to recommendations in due course”.