Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner says 'some services can’t function in a gender neutral way' – Lincolnshire Live

Stonewall has been criticised for working with the police
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Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire Marc Jones has supported an article that criticises the role LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall plays in helping the police.
The article by the Daily Mail details Surrey Police Commissioner Lisa Townsend expressing her opinion that the police should stop working with Stonewall.
Ms Townsend says in the article that Stonewall has "a dangerous ideology that threatens the safety of our women and girls", and that she has had many messages from women who are "frightened that female-only spaces, including women's refuges and toilets, are being opened up to people who 'identify' as women, even if they have male genitalia."
Mr Jones retweeted the article, saying it was "a very important piece" and that "some services quite simply can’t function in a gender neutral way."
Lincolnshire Live approached Marc Jones to ask more about his opinion.
He said: "It is perhaps more accurate to say that it is exceptionally challenging to offer some services in a gender neutral way.
"There is no right and wrong in many of these cases – just very difficult scenarios that are complicated to navigate.
"For instance, experience and research shows very clearly that sexual assault referral services for men require a very different approach than those for women, this is also true of perpetrator programmes.
"I can imagine that the residents of a women’s shelter, where the majority of people have been the victim of abusive men, may feel threatened by a resident whose gender is unclear to them."
Despite this, Mr Jones stated that he is welcoming a "healthy debate", and that "it is vital to deliver the best possible services to everyone regardless of sex or gender."
He said: "I am not dissecting, condoning or championing the views of another PCC but rather, as an elected official representing all the people of Lincolnshire, welcoming a healthy debate on an important issue affecting residents.
"Of course these issues are very sensitive issues which is exactly why we must discuss them and not shy from the debate.
"I want every member of our community to feel that their voice can be heard whether they have a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act or not, we must listen, debate and shape services that will serve and protect them.
"I don’t believe a solution has been found to this very complex issue which is why debate and discussion is so important.
"I believe every individual in Lincolnshire should expect every effort is made to provide the services that work best for them.
"We may not have the answers now but we must strive to do that and that will only be aided by open dialogue and debate ."
Stonewall responded to Mr Jones' comments and the Daily Mail article, stating the importance of their Diversity Champions programme, which works to ensure all LGBTQ+ staff are free to be themselves in the workplace, working over 900 organisations across the UK.
A Stonewall spokesperson said: ‘Our Diversity Champions programme provides advice, support and resources to organisations on meeting their statutory requirements under the Equality Act 2010.
"In 2021, it’s unacceptable that LGBTQ+ people are still held back because of who we are and our research shows that more than a third (35 per cent) of LGBTQ+ people have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination.
"Every employer needs to ensure that their staff, including LGBTQ+ staff, are free from discrimination and prejudice at work, and our Diversity Champions programme is one way for organisations to be supported to meet this requirement.
"We’re very proud of our work with over 900 organisations to help them create inclusive working environments where LGBTQ+ staff can thrive as themselves."
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