Trans rights activists in Civil Service ‘undermine’ policies, claims gender-critical group

A Trans rights activist wears an earring featuring a 'they' pronoun symbol, during a protest outside the Ministry of Defence Main Building in Whitehall
Trans rights activists in the Civil Service have been accused of undermining policies - Dan Kitwood/Getty

Civil servants in favour of transgender rights have “actively undermined” government policies, a gender-critical group has claimed.

A small number of transgender rights activists have created a “culture of fear” across Whitehall which has led to the bullying of gender-critical staff and has subverted government policy, according to a letter sent to the Cabinet Office from the Sex Equality and Equity Network (Seen).

The group, which represents more than 700 gender-critical civil servants, said the problem was “widespread” and has affected “almost every government department”.

The group claims that Ministry of Justice staff have “boasted” to colleagues about “frustrating ministers’ intentions”.

They are alleged to have attempted to remove contributions to government consultations that relate to sex instead of gender, briefed external groups on how to get around ministerial guidance and divulged internal policy thinking to partisan organisations.

Letter details ‘widespread bullying’

Pro-transgender civil servants have also engaged in the “active obfuscation of facts to prevent ministers seeing the impact of trans inclusive policies”, according to Seen.

Decisions to “include trans women in female-only spaces” have been “made quickly and without consultation”, as pro-trans civil servants have shown “complete disregard for women’s safety and dignity”, the letter added.

Civil servants responsible for gender identity policies are alleged to have suggested that concerns around transgender rapists in female prisons is a “moral panic”, that sex is not real and that women who require same-sex spaces or care are “bigots”.

The letter, which is more than 30 pages long and details instances of “widespread” “bullying and harassment” of gender-critical civil servants, was sent to Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, in October.

Simon Case, Cabinet Secretary
Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, was the recipient of the letter - Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty

It alleges that the “bullying” of gender-critical civil servants is “particularly acute” in the Ministry of Defence, where staff who “dissent” from “a particular ideological belief” on gender, promoted by senior civil servants, have been “harassed”.

The letter added: “Rather than address the problem, gender-critical staff have themselves been threatened by [senior civil servants] and [diversity and inclusion] staff with disciplinary action.”

Seen said its “most serious concerns” pertain to the Ministry of Justice, where “unchallenged bias and misinformation [around gender]” is “impacting on government policy making”.

In February, representatives from Seen met with Matthew Rycroft, the permanent under-secretary of state at the Home Office, who deputised for Mr Case, and told members the “meeting went well and we hope to continue the positive dialogue”.

Ministry of Defence
The issue is 'particularly acute' in the Ministry of Defence, the letter said - Getty/ Alex Segre/UCG/Universal Images Group

However, since then the “bullying, harassment and discrimination” of gender-critical staff has continued, a member of Seen, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph.

“There’s very little indication that our senior leaders understand that this is not about ‘lived experience’ or ‘inclusion’ or the grievance process but about a systemic lack of impartiality across departments,” they added.

Gender-critical staff ‘compared with Ku Klux Klan’

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “Senior Civil Service leaders take the issues raised in the letter seriously.

“Our response outlines how the concerns that staff raised are being addressed, including through updated impartiality guidance.

“It also says that it is important that civil servants recognise the diversity of opinion on these issues.”

The letter claims that gender-critical civil servants have been compared with the Ku Klux Klan and anti-Semites in gender awareness training, which is optional and offered to all civil servants by a:gender, a network supporting transgender staff across the Government.

It cites an excerpt from one presentation which reads: “Racism won’t come into your workplace as hoods and burning crosses but as ‘nationalism’ or ‘patriotism’.

“Transphobia is the same … ‘I’m just protecting women and girls’ … ‘This undermines women’s hard-fought for sex based rights’.

“What rights do women have that men don’t? None, because we have the Equality Act, there is no such thing as women’s sex-based rights and even if there was, how would a man transitioning and getting that right stop women from having that right? So switch your ears off?”

‘Bullying happens behind closed doors’

Maya Forstater, the executive director of Sex Matters, a human rights organisation that campaigns for clarity about sex in law and life, said: “This devastating letter echoes what we have heard from civil servants in many departments.

“Senior leaders give assurances about protecting impartiality, but fail to grasp how embedded gender ideology is across Whitehall. Much of the bullying happens behind closed doors.”

Details which could identify the civil servants who have made complaints have been redacted from the letter to preserve their anonymity. The claims made in the document are “evidenced by emails and/or other documentation”, which has been offered to the Cabinet Office, according to Seen.

The Cabinet Office did not confirm whether it had requested or reviewed the evidence. A:gender, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice have been approached for comment.

It comes as Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, announced a war on “immoral” Whitehall waste on Saturday, criticising government departments that spend public money on “woke” initiatives that he finds “very hard to defend”.