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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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I am a Trustee Charity which was set up in 1998

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I am a Trustee for a Charity which was set up in 1998 as a women's music festival. Over the years it has been a women only music festival and has attracted many women who find it a very supporting space as there are no men and many are victims of male abuse. But it the festival remains a music and arts festival. It is only small in the middle of West Wales and attracts about 350 women for 5 days annually in August.
We now have the issue of the trans gender women who possibly wanting to attend the festival, in fact a transgender woman, who was not fully reassigned, attended last year and a several women wanted to make an issue out of it. As organisers and Trustees we managed to contain the issue and it went off without incident. Since then a small group of women have become increasingly vociferous and political in trying to stop any trans gender women attending and if they do will attempt to remove them from the site. As Trustees we have to behave legally at all times and our understanding is that we cannot discriminate against transexual women and any harassment is illegal. I am asking is there any way within the law that we can only have a festival for women born women? Also as Trustees can we be held legally responsible for any harassment or hate crimes from other women as long as we have done everything in our power to counteract them. We have in place a Code of Conduct, Equality and Diversity policy and we have a fairly tight constitution and governance documentation. The whole issue is making me quite stressful as I believe that the festival is going to be used to make political points. Thank you in anticipation Lesley Stevens
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. I am afraid there is no way of getting around this without falling foul of the Equality Act 2010. The Act Clearly states that discrimination against a person due to gender reassignment (whether pre or post operative) is prohibited and this extends to the provision of services. If your charity refuses admission to a person who 'identifies themselves as a woman' but was not born a woman then this will amount to direct discrimination under the Act. It will be the charity who is liable but potentially a trustee could be held personally liable for an act of direct discrimination if it is their decision. I know that this is not the answer you were hoping for but it is a real 'hot potato' as you are no doubt aware. If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would be so kind as to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
You answered my question with information I already knew but we needed a 'legal' person to to put it in writing so I can bring it to our AGM that is being held soon. It is a hot potato as you rightly say and there had not been any test case that we've been able to find, although we have some ruling from a QC who say in their view if it was tested in court there may be a way round it, but we are a very small charity run solely by volunteers and no-one wants to put their livelihood or reputation on the line. We want to abide by the law and no we have to but it is a group of radical feminists who are making waves for us. Thank you for your reply best wishes Lesley
No problem Lesley. All the best with it. If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful you would take the time to rate my answer as I am not otherwise paid for answering your question. Thank you.
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