City of London Survey
There are a couple of surveys, consultations and calls for evidence which are kinda important at the moment - particularly on trans issues. I'm going to have a look at the GRA consultation later and then maybe the Equality Act enforcement call for evidence, but that's much more free-form. Today, I'm looking at a City of London survey. This guidance is written by a queer AMAB (Assigned Male At Birth) non-binary person and is intended for those who are supportive of trans people. Transphobes and other bigots can probably find their own guidance and suggestions elsewhere.
Who? City of London is the Local Authority governing the “financial district and historic centre of London”. They operate various local services including Hampstead Park Bathing Ponds and The Barbican.
What are they doing? They are carrying out a survey about trans access to their facilities.
Why is this important? Recently, transphobic activists (dubbing this campaign “Man Friday”) have been abusing gender segregated events at Hampstead bathing pools. They believe that trans women are men and should not be allowed access to women’s facilities so claim that they identify as men to access men’s spaces. In the process this attempts to mock and undermine genuine trans identities.
Another service that City of London run is The Barbican which recently came under fire for gender-neutral toilets.This is only in one area of The Barbican, not the whole building. This survey is, presumably, part of the review mentioned in that statement.
The toilet situation seems to have been sparked by Samira Ahmed (who has been an amazing journalist until this incident) tweeting about wait times at gender neutral toilet facilities, but leapt on by other transphobic campaigners. Wait times are discussed in this article from The Guardian.
Transphobic campaigners will be trying to hit this survey hard - they will then want to use the evidence in other campaigns so showing support for trans folk is important - especially from cis folk.
What do I have to do? The survey is 21 questions. It took me about ten minutes to complete.
The first few are about how relevant your input is - i.e. living or working in London or otherwise using their facilities. If you are not a regular user it will ask why you are giving your feedback. I would suggest talking about supporting Trans and LGB friends (if you have such friends) or people generally. The following numbers are based on me as a non-Londoner/non-user.
Questions 5-7 are questions about your view of trans acceptance. They are Agree/Disagree questions (and I hope you strongly agree with everything). Question 8 is about which services trans folk should be able to access.
Question 9 is a free-form question which asks about safeguards - i.e. cubicles in changing rooms etc.
Question 10 asks about proof - this is an important question, expecting people to prove their gender identity is something which will only ever be abused and will leave trans and other gender non-conforming people potentially unable to or scared to access to access facilities through lack of relevant ID or fear of humiliation.
Question 11 asks about whether gender segregated services should be made unisex. This is something I’m generally in favour with as a non-binary person and I would like to see recognition of non-binary identities in public spaces.
Question 12 is a free-form question about anything else. Again, you could talk about non-binary recognition or the difference between genuine identity and the bad faith stunts pulled by campaigns like Man Friday.
Questions 13 onward are about demographics.
Some notes on terminology
‘Trans’ on its own is often used as an umbrella term for those whose gender identity does not match that assigned at birth - this includes trans women, trans men, non-binary folks, agender, gender fluid etc.
It is “trans woman” and “trans man”, not ‘transwoman’ and ‘transman’. ‘Trans’ is an adjective here much like, for example, ‘gay’; you wouldn’t say ‘gayman’ or ‘gaywoman’ so you don’t say ‘transwoman’.
‘Cis’ merely means not trans - i.e. identifying as the gender identity they were assigned at birth. Again, this is “cis woman” and “cis man”, not ‘ciswoman’ or ‘cisman’.
‘Non-binary’ is also written/said as “non binary”, “NB” and “enby”. Some people prefer to identify as ‘genderqueer’ which is a similar idea.
Gender identity is not the same as gender presentation - I know I’ll never escape my male presentation, but that doesn’t make me any less non-binary.