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Civil servants set up employee forum to defend binary biological sex

November 12th, 2022

A general view of the sign of Whitehall in London – Lauren Hurley/PA

Civil servants have launched a new employee forum to “fight back” against groupthink and defend binary biological sex, The Telegraph can disclose.

The cross-government Sex Equality and Equity Network (SEEN) is open to all public sector staff in the UK.

It was launched by civil servants last week to “re-focus attention” among officials on furthering sex-based rights by reaffirming sex as immutable.

It is the first time mandarins have formally organised a defence of gender-critical beliefs, following a series of controversies around Whitehall diversity training.

Last year, staff in some Government departments were shown a “Genderbread Person” diagram that claimed sex and gender sit on spectrums of zero to 100.

And earlier this year, other officials were schooled in unlimited gender identities using a “diversity iceberg” model and told to imagine a “Japanese gay grandfather” in a workshop.

SEEN said it was needed because “we all need to be able to talk openly and clearly about sex-based rights using clear language” to improve equity between men and women.

“In recent years, confusion has arisen between sex and the concept of gender identity. Some people have a personal sense of identity as male, female or neither, which they call gender identity,” SEEN said.

“We think it’s important not to confuse sex with gender identity because confusion undermines our ability to protect everyone’s rights.”

The move was welcomed last night by Government insiders. A Whitehall source told The Telegraph: “’Whether it is introducing pronouns, building ‘universal’ toilets or referring to ‘chestfeeding’, the assault on women in the civil service is now facing pushback.

“This network is a sign to mandarins that if they try to erase women, women will fight back.”

The Cabinet Office confirmed that SEEN has been authorised as an official employee network, joining around 20 other forums on issues such as LGBT+, disability, flexible working and race.

One mandarin broke ranks earlier this year to tell The Telegraph that Civil Service HR chiefs recognise more than 100 self-identified genders for official personnel records.

Meanwhile, a:gender, another employee network that exists across the entirety of Whitehall, is open to presenters who self-identify as transgender, transsexual, non-binary, gender fluid, genderqueer, gender variant, cross-dresser, genderless, third gender or bigender, and intersex.

It has run inclusion workshops for hundreds of Civil Service staff and says it wants officials to go beyond current equality legislation and use “appropriate language/names/pronouns” and “challenge inappropriate language or behaviours”.

SEEN says it “believes in fairness, tolerance and pluralism” with other staff networks, backed by the Civil Service diversity and inclusion strategy, and “wants to avoid and challenge groupthink”.

The Telegraph understands that SEEN has already amassed multiple presenters.

One member, who has joined from HMRC, said they were “sick of the gender and trans twaddle”, while another said the group was months in the making and “here to stay”.

Concerns about civil servants spending hours sitting through diversity courses prompted Jacob Rees-Mogg to axe more than 250 “woke” courses in September, when he was Cabinet Office minister.

Mr Rees-Mogg claimed some sessions were “indoctrinating” civil servants with “divisive ideological agendas”.

Maya Forstater, a tax expert whose own landmark legal victory to protect gender-critical beliefs under the 2010 Equality Act sparked JK Rowling’s first trans intervention, also welcomed the move.

“I hear from many people that they are afraid of being harassed and discriminated against at work if they speak up about sex-based rights,” she said.

“A network like this can give people support and make clear that the ordinary belief that sex matters is worthy of respect.”

A Government spokesman said: “All staff networks are voluntary. Civil Service Employee Networks provide support and practical guidance to staff.”

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