Heath bosses launch “gender identity” consultation

Friday, 17th August 2018 — By Helen Chapman

The Ladies’ Pond sign at Hampstead Heath

The Ladies’ Pond at Hampstead Heath


HEATH bosses have launched a consultation on “gender identity” to help decide who should be able to use single-sex facilities.

The City of London want to know whether trans-women – men who have transitioned, or are transitioning to become women – should be able to use the Ladies’ Pond at Hampstead Heath.

The consultation also asks whether those who identify as being one sex or the other should be able to use the facilities they feel most comfortable in.

The results could lead to changes at the ponds and also in changing rooms at the Parliament Hill lido and running track.

University College London social sciences professor Alice Sullivan, who runs at the track at Parliament Hill, said the consultation had been handled in an “oddly dis- creet way”.

“Apparently it was first tweeted in early July but I did not find out about it until early August,” she added. “They only informed the Parliament Hill running track users group about the consulta- tion after I prompted them to do so, yet it affects the track changing rooms.

“As a survey researcher, I know a good survey asks specific questions in clear Eng- lish. This consultation does not do that. It asks vague questions which many people won’t understand.

“The topic is controver- sial, and it is important that people are properly consulted. It is really important that we take into account a wide range of views and make sure those views are heard.

“The whole framing of the consultation is that gender is purely about identity. As a sociologist, I think that biological dif- ferences and social struc- tures are important, and the survey should not assume that they don’t exist or matter.”

Nicky Mayhew, co- chair of the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association, said: “We have sent a link to the consultation in an email to all of our mem- bers. The City of London have also posted a notice at the pond and have invit- ed people to respond.”

Edward Lord OBE, an officer at the City of Lon- don Corporation, announced last month on the City of London web- site and Twitter that a con- sultation had been launched about Hamp- stead Heath and “gender identity policies”.

The Barbican arts centre, which is also owned by the City of London, introduced gender neutral toilets last year.

A City of London Cor- poration statement said: “We are looking into cre- ating an over-arching pol- icy on gender identity for the City Corporation. We will draw on the expertise of relevant organisations in a consultation covering our public services provi- sion and employment practice.

“We would like to hear from all interested parties as part of the consulta- tion. We have put posters up at our information points across Hampstead Heath and posted mes- sages on social media to inform people of the sur- vey.

“Our vision is to build and support strong, sus- tainable and cohesive communities by ensuring all our policies are fully inclusive.”

The consultation survey can be viewed at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LLK223F and through the City of London homepage at www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The consultation closes on September 14.

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