The British government has decided not to take away the humiliating and bureaucratic hurdles to gender recognition for trans people in England and Wales. Instead it has clung to a system which will be obsolete in two years. On 22 September, Liz Truss, the minister “for” women and equalities, made a formal written statement confirming this.
To get gender recognition, a person will still need:
- A medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria from an approved medical practitioner;
- A medical report from an approved medical professional providing details of any treatment they have had;
- Evidence they have lived in their new gender for at least two years;
- Agreement from their spouse/civil partner to the marriage/civil partnership;
- Make a statutory declaration that they intend to live in the acquired gender until death (making a false statement is a criminal offence).
How dare an administrative body ask what is between my legs. That is private.
Demanding a medical diagnosis means that the law will be obsolete. This is the ICD 11 definition of “gender incongruence”, which is in force from 1 January 2022:
Gender incongruence is characterised by a marked and persistent incongruence between an individual’s experienced gender and the assigned sex. Gender variant behaviour and preferences alone are not a basis for assigning the diagnoses in this group.
To need the intervention of doctors, you must want hormones or surgery. Simply being trans, and living your life in your true gender, is no more a medical condition than being gay is, and is currently protected under the Equality Act 2010. If you change gender, without any medical intervention, you can change your driving licence, and if a GP says you are likely to live like this life long you can change your passport too.
Effectively, from 2022 the government is imposing a requirement for hormones or surgery before gender recognition, which is contrary to our human rights.
Also, they require “Evidence” we have lived in our new gender for two years. My word should be evidence. It is not a thing I would lie about. Doubting my word is gross disrespect. The need to produce documents is insulting. Also, it can be difficult for some people.
They require the consent of any spouse. Well, changing gender may be grounds for divorce, and a partner’s refusal to agree to gender change effectively breaks a relationship, but it should be for a person to declare their gender and no-one should have a right of veto.
I call this “A law to vilify trans people”. Truss talks of “checks and balances”, and in a speech on gender recognition felt the need to mention the right of women’s spaces to exclude us. She presents trans people and gender recognition as a threat. With the chance to stop our humiliation, she has decided to continue it. This speech is full throttle culture war.
The press release gives the five requirements above, but begins in a more mollifying way.
- The requirements necessary to legally change gender will remain the same, but the process will be modernised
- The application fee for a Gender Recognition Certificate will be significantly reduced to ensure cost is not a barrier for anyone
- Government is also taking action to ensure transgender people can access the appropriate healthcare they need
It’s hard to see what “modernisation” is possible, when the requirements remain the same. They mean “digitising” the process on line, which does not make things easier than paper copies. The fee is not the most expensive part: whether they require two doctors’ letters, or only one, that is expensive. Many trans people use a solicitor to swear, and even draft, the statutory declarations of changing name and changing gender, and that is expensive. There are already reductions in fee for those on low income.
It refuses other change, saying “the government has decided that the current provisions within the Act allow for those that wish to legally change their sex to do so safely and fairly.” Fairly- to whom? It is no-one’s business but my own. Again, “safely”- there is no lack of safety for anyone in the gender recognition procedure the Scottish government proposed.
It boasts that three new gender clinics are established this year, but waiting lists are still four years in places. There is huge demand, because the Equality Act reduced the prejudice against us, and people felt that transition was merely incredibly difficult rather than completely impossible. And, this reinforces the medical model, and the need for physical medical treatment.
Liz Truss’s speech is disgusting. The page starts with a picture of her with an insincerely ingratiating smile, and mollifying words which she belies instantly.
As a Government, we are determined that everyone in the UK should be free to live their lives and fulfil their potential regardless of their sex, gender identity, race or disability.
As a government, they are determined to stir a culture war to distract from their betrayal of the country with their damaging Brexit, and total failure over Covid, killing tens of thousands and devastating the economy.
She says there need to be “checks and balances” stopping gender change being too easy- that’s the “predatory men” myth- and then tells the direct lie that they address trans people’s main concerns and make the procedure kinder. The demand for evidence is not kind. Then she claims “Of those who had completed their transition, around 2 in 5 said that they had a Gender Recognition Certificate, a higher proportion than is often believed.” It was 9.4% of those who said they were trans, though. I will have to check again about the number who had completed transition.
Then she says trans people care more about health care than gender recognition reform, as if they could not easily do both.
She admits that “for many years, transgender people have been widely accepted in British society; able to use facilities of their chosen gender; and able to participate fully in modern life,” though, for example, Cummings’ trolling in The Sunday Times has tried to roll that back.
She says The Equality Act “allows service providers to restrict access to single sex spaces on the basis of biological sex if there is a clear justification.” Anyone can be excluded from a service for bad behaviour. To mention that in a speech on trans rights is insulting.
Until Sunday 20th this petition had around 5000 signatures. On 23 September it had 124,015. Please sign it. It requests, wholly reasonably,
Reform the GRA to allow transgender people to self-identify without the need for a medical diagnosis, to streamline the administrative process, and to allow non-binary identities to be legally recognised.
The consultation was overwhelmingly in favour of reform, and promoting trans rights. I have just read the Executive Summary of the analysis of the response. Obsessive haters FPFW, and also WPUK, worked extremely hard to get their supporters to respond. 18% of those who responded used the FPFW template. There were 102,818 valid responses. 1.1% of responses said they had a GRC or were applying for one. Around 10% of trans people in one survey had a GRC, which may indicate that 10% of respondents were trans. So overwhelmingly the respondents were cis, and most of them allies. 39% responded through a form from Stonewall, so many of those may have been LGB allies. The feminist group Level Up, which campaigns on domestic violence, supported trans people and got 7% of respondents to use their online form. The analysis treats all responses equally, whether direct to the government or through a template.
Trans people talked about what having a GRC would mean to them: social and legal validation, being able to get married, protection against being outed, and the correct gender on a death certificate.
64% said there should not be a medical diagnosis. Well, being trans is not a medical condition any more than being gay is. 80% said there should be no report on the treatment received. 78.8% thought there should be no waiting period before someone could get a GRC- that is, almost everyone except the FPFW haters.
83.5% thought there should be a statutory declaration, but 40% thought it should not include the words “live permanently… until death”. I agree: here are my responses. The gravity of oath or affirmation deters abuse. 84.9% disagreed with the spousal consent requirement, which Liz Truss pledges to retain. 58.5% would remove the fee. 73.4% did not think trans people’s rights to privacy under the Gender Recognition Act were adequate.
60% thought single sex service exemptions would not be affected. Well, those who disagree were simply wrong: the government had not suggested changing the Equality Act, but that did not stop FPFW respondents. Their paranoia is such that they claim there would be an effect, however often the law is explained to them.
60% of organisations which responded said they were confident in applying single sex exclusions of trans people. Possibly the 40% which were not had not properly considered the matter, because they had had no need to. The 60% had clear guidance, and some suggested the Equality Act was clear. Some said there was pressure from funders not to use the power to exclude trans people- well, good.
3000 trans people had experienced domestic abuse, and only a quarter of those had been able to access support. 892 respondents had a variation in their sex characteristics, and thought some VSC people would want gender recognition. They would gain from the removal of the medical report requirement.
When I have read the whole analysis of the responses, I will post again.