The Sunday Times published a story yesterday about the leaked contents of the long-overdue government announcement regarding reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). IF the report is correct, the government’s decision on this could best be described as pathetic.
In 2017, then-prime minister Theresa May suggested reforming the GRA after a government report found that only around 5,000 people from the UK’s trans population of approximately half a million people had used the law to change their legal gender. Despite gender dysphoria no longer being classed as a mental illness by the World Health Organisation, a diagnosis of gender dysphoria by two psychiatrists is still required as part of the requirements to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate. A 2-year consultation was conducted which turned toxic as it was hijacked by anti-trans campaigners who changed the dialogue onto the issues of trans women using female-only spaces, and of access to treatment for trans children, even though neither of these fall within the scope of the GRA. The findings of the consultation have been witheld by the government for over a year, but an announcement is due imminently. During this time, transphobic hate crime has increased dramatically.
A leaked report in the Sunday Times in June stated that Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss was due to announce a restriction of access to gender services for trans children and also restrictions to female-only spaces for trans women, even though 70% of those consulted were reported to be supportive of make it easier for trans people to gain a GRC.
However, following a series of protests by trans people and allies as well as the British medical Association stating their support for self-identification of gender for trans people (see: https://www.bma.org.uk/news-and-opinion/push-for-progress-on-transgender-rights-in-healthcare ) and a mass show of support for trans people by the corporate sector (see https://www.transrightsarehumanrights.co.uk/ ), Liz truss made a statement to say that access to gender services for trans children will be unaffected by any reforms to the GRA. The only reform mentioned in yesterdays’ report in the Sunday Times was that the £140 GRC application fee would be lowered. It is not known how accurate this report it is, but if that is the government’s conclusion to 3 very damaging years for trans people, frankly, it’s a pathetic response and trans people have suffered so much abuse for pretty much nothing.
Of course, Liz Truss’ announcement has yet to be made, so until it is, this is all just speculation. There is still everything to play for and the fight goes on!
Please sign this new petition to urge the government to reform the Gender Recognition Act: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/327108