Understanding the impact of Wales’ Gender Quota bill on the trans community

On 29th October, a leaked draft of gender quotas bill reveals the Welsh government’s proposal to redefine the legal definition of women to include trans women.

The news has been generally well received by members of the trans community in Wales. But some concerns regarding its impact were raised.

“There are more barriers to being a trans person in general which a normal quota bill cannot solve” says Bea Woods.

Bea is the Wales coordinator for Reach, a project across Wales that supports refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom are from the trans community.

She says that society is still questioning whether to accept trans people and people might see the bill as an offense on their own rights.

“The trans community is massively underrepresented and its very unlikely for the vast majority of trans people to believe that they are going to be in the position to be short listed so the effect of the bill would be fairly minimal.”

“The philosophical question of what a woman is, is a distraction from real issues Instead of asking how to define a woman, why don’t they ask why are trans women treated so poorly? ” says Sarah Clarke, a trans rights researcher.

While responding to the speculations of men self identifying themselves as women to get a better chance of selection she says “A man who already has the advantages that come in society in political life from being a man would not give that up to be seen with a great deal of hostility and scrutiny as the trans people.”

“Historically we’ve noticed that a lot of equality and diversity measures focused on representation in political positions only benefits a minority of marginalized people.”

According to the LGBTQ campaining organisation Stonewall Cymru, trans women make up 0.1% of the population in Wales.

“In a literal sense its makes the Senedd more representative but I question the extent to which that will really benefit the trans community” says Sarah Clarke.