Detailed guidance providing arts organisations with clarity on the law relating to trans issues, and advice on how to deal with disagreements, is published.
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There is growing uncertainty and anxiety among arts and cultural organisations on issues relating to trans-inclusive practice in light of recent legal cases, according to experts.
Leicester University’s Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) said "numerous" cultural organisations have contacted it in recent months seeking advice around trans inclusion.
Recent case law has clarified that gender critical beliefs - "broadly speaking, the belief that sex is biologically determined, binary and immutable" - are protected under the Equality Act, guidance published today on the issue by the university states.
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"This has generated some uncertainties and challenges for those striving to create and maintain organisational cultures and environments that are inclusive and safe for trans people.
"This context is proving confusing for leaders in cultural organisations and has led to conversations and confrontations that cultural professionals are not always equipped to take part in or resolve."
The guidance, developed alongside a team of legal scholars and experts in inclusion, equality and ethics, offers the sector support by providing clarity and precision around the law, and recommending how to respond to issues, disagreements and upsets, should they arise.
Its publication comes on the back of the high-profile case of Denise Fahmy, a former employee of Arts Council England, who an employment tribunal found had been harassed by fellow staff over her gender critical beliefs.
As well as featuring relevant case law, the guidance runs through a number of potential scenarios that were flagged by sector organisations.
These include: members of staff refusing to use the correct pronouns, offensive comments relating to work being conducted with a trans group, discussions with staff about trans rights in relation to women's rights, and a request to hire event space from an organisation advocating for the rights of people with gender critical beliefs.
Professor Richard Sandell, co-Director of RCMG said the guidance offers straightforward, precise and deeply-researched advice to "address the uncertainty and anxiety that many cultural organisations are experiencing".
"The backing of so many culture sector bodies clearly shows how significant this issue is for the sector and highlights the need for museums, galleries, heritage and archives to be more ambitious in their trans-inclusive practice," he said.