Leaked draft guidelines for civil servants in the UK would see some transgender staff barred from using single-sex spaces that align with their gender identity, VICE News reported.
The 39-page document also states that civil servants should recognise “gender critical beliefs” and “gender identity beliefs” – effectively meaning that employees must accept transphobic views being expressed at work.
“The Department acknowledges that some employees believe that a person’s biological sex is immutable,” part of the draft guidelines state.
“Employees that hold this belief must be treated with respect and dignity and protected from bullying, harassment and discrimination, in the same way that they are expected to treat intersex, non-binary and transgender colleagues.
“This does not, however, mean that it is acceptable indiscriminately and gratuitously to refer to a trans person in terms other than they would wish.”
A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office told GAY TIMES there are no plans for the leaked guidelines to be published in the coming weeks and said it “is a draft document and not Civil Service HR policy.”
They also noted that internal HR documents would not be shared publicly and that Civil Service HR policies are reviewed regularly, with any draft changes not yet reviewed by ministers.
Around half a million people work for the UK Civil Service, who are politically impartial individuals helping the government’s departments function.
The draft guidelines also include proposed “changes on access to toilets” that would leave only those with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) able to use the single-sex facilities, such as bathrooms, that align with their gender identity.
As few as one per cent of trans people in the UK are estimated to have a GRC.
“My existence is not a belief”
Previous guidance from the Civil Service stated that “all individuals have the right to express their identity at work and present in their gender”, as well as the option to use any toilet that they wished to.
Senior civil servants said they were “terrified” by the draft.
“My existence is not a belief,” a trans civil servant, who asked to remain anonymous, told the aforementioned outlet.
“How can my safety be just as important as someone’s belief that I shouldn’t be safe? This feels like it was written by someone gender critical, just to give transphobes more clout.”
The ‘gender identity and intersex policies’ were last updated by the Civil Service HR Organisational Policy Team in 2019.
“We don’t comment on alleged leaks,” a government spokesperson told VICE News. “It is a longstanding value of the Civil Service that differing viewpoints are tolerated and respected.”