Cambridge city councillor Ann Sinnott quits over rules allowing transgender women to use female toilets
PUBLISHED: 15:31 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 00:59 04 August 2018
She says the rules could put women and girls in danger.
Ann Sinnott has resigned from Cambridge City Council, saying rules that allow transgender women to use ladies’ toilets could put women and girls in danger.
Announcing her resignation on Monday, Ms Sinnott said the rules, which were adopted following an amendment to full council in 2010, could put women at risk if men who identified as women were allowed to use toilets and changing rooms.
Ms Sinnott, who was a Labour councillor for Petersfield, stressed her position was not anti-trans, but “pro-woman”, and said any protection for trans people “should not be at the expense of women and girls”.
But there has been sharp criticism of Ms Sinnott’s stance.
Cllr Zoe O’Connell, a Lib Dem councillor and prominent campaigner for transgender rights, said the legislation put in place in 2010 was an “example” for other councils to follow, and said Cambridge was a welcoming place for trans people.
Cllr O’Connell, who is transgender herself, said: “I’m proud that Cambridge is a progressive and accepting city.
“There have been openly trans Lib Dem councillors here for 17 of the last 18 years. Former Councillor Sinnott’s resignation just demonstrates that transphobia and other forms of discrimination have no place in local politics here.
“As a party, both locally and nationally, we’re proud to support trans people. This includes introducing trans-affirming equality policies in Cambridge in 2010 which set an example for other councils to follow, while being fully compliant with equalities legislation.”
Sarah Brown, the former Lib Dem city councillor who introduced the amendment which brought in the rules in 2010, said that she was “disappointed former Councillor Sinnott apparently felt unable to respect and represent the diversity of her constituents.
“I’m glad I never needed to ask her for assistance as my councillor; maybe she wouldn’t have helped?”
Ms Sinnott maintains her resignation is rooted in concerns for women’s safety and a desire to see the council protect everyone in Cambridge.
The policy says: “Transgender people will not be excluded from gender-appropriate single sex/sex segregated facilities operated by the council.”
Council leader Lewis Herbert has said the policy wording will be reviewed.