When I sought my gender recognition certificate, I needed the reports of two doctors: one the psychiatrist who had diagnosed me, and my GP. I needed to state what surgery I had had. My word was not good enough for them: I needed documentary proof, such as wage slips, that I had been using a female name for two years. I needed to swear or affirm that I intended to live life long in my new gender. It is all a matter of policing. The State needs to ensure that I am not frivolous- as if frivolous applications for gender recognition could ever be a serious problem.
When I got my passport, the passport office asked if I had had surgery, though at the time the guidance was that they should not. I needed a letter from my GP.
Why should I need a psychiatrist? Gender dysphoria is not a mental illness.
The parliamentary committee recommend self-declaration of gender. In place of the present medicalised, quasi-judicial application process, an administrative process must be developed, centred on the wishes of the individual applicant, rather than on intensive analysis by doctors and lawyers.
I went through the procedure because it had to be done. Given that the law could recognise that I was female, I wanted that, so I was happy to do what I needed to, to achieve that. I knuckled under. So it is wonderful to read of the healthy resentment of the witnesses campaigning against this scrutiny: it is humiliating to have your gender assessed by someone else. You are the only person who can come to that realisation, not a panel. It is an outdated system. So Ashley campaigned and petitioned, and her actions are part of the pressure which has achieved this promise of change. I had had the operation, so was OK, but the gender recognition panel has insisted on really intrusive levels of detail about the surgeries that people have undergone or their intentions for future surgery, and is incredibly pedantic about any perceived inconsistencies in the medical reports.
The Council of Europe resolution calls for quick, transparent and accessible procedures, based on self determination.
I had my passport and driving licence changed before I had my GRC. I would not have wanted to use a passport saying M in those two years. That has been a problem for others, since the Gender Recognition Act. Yet I could obtain a passport immediately on change of name, saying “F”- I would hardly have wanted to change it, if I were going to revert. It would have been practically unusable. My very desire for it proves it is right to give it, and if it was not right, I bear all the loss.