New transgender policy for 23,000 civil servants ‘should not have been left to whim of officials’

A former finance minister has said that new rules governing how staff interact with transgender people should not have been brought in on the “whim” of officials.

By Adam Kula
Monday, 31st August 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 31st August 2020, 1:07 pm
Mervyn Storey
Mervyn Storey

He was responding to the news, published by the News Letter today, that in 2019, while Stormont was dissolved, the civil service re-wrote its rule book for staff in such a way that compels them to use whatever language transgender people wish.

This does not just refer to people who medically transition; it also takes in cross-dressing people, those who do not want surgery or hormones, or people who say their gender is a fluctuating spectrum.

The ex-finance minister had asked his former department (which is in charge of civil service personnel) who was consulted when drawing up a new policy on trangenderism.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The ex-finance minister had asked his former department (which is in charge of civil service personnel) who had been consulted when drawing up a new policy on trangenderism.

The department named nine different consultees – seven of which are transgender / LGBT advocacy groups.

They are: Stonewall, GenderJam, SAIL NI, TransgenderNI, Focus–The Identity Trust, NI Civil Service Diversity Champions, and the NI Civil Service LGBT Staff Network.

The other two consultees listed are the trade unions (which are generally supportive of LGBT campaigns) and “individual colleagues”.

Questioned further by the News Letter, the department said the rules had in fact been in effect since April 2019 – although they were not made publicly available on the internet until after the News Letter started enquiring about them this month.

Mr Storey said that his own view is “a Biblical perspective, that there are only two genders – male and female”.

He added: “I would disagree with the entire transgender agenda that we’ve seen over the last number of years...

“I suspect if they had consulted with the Christian Institute or with faith organisations, they’d have got a different view as to how they should apply the rules and find they should deal with people.”

Nevertheless he also said “I still want to respect people even though I disagree with what they may believe”.

When it comes to the fact this was drawn up with no minister in post, he said: “It’s an issue that needs to be revisited. It’s legality will have to be looked at because it’s cross-cutting, it’s contentious, and it’s novel.

“Clearly such an issue like that has different opinions, and divides opinion. It’s something that shouldn’t have been taken solely at the whim of one civil servant, or a number of civil servants.”



A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe