Who should have their gender recognised? The Scottish government proposes,
3.31. A requirement to submit a statutory declaration would demonstrate that applicants intend to permanently live in their acquired gender. Therefore, the Scottish Government considers that applicants under the proposed system of legal gender recognition should have to provide a statutory declaration stating that they:
- are applying of their own free will;
- understand the consequences of obtaining legal gender recognition; and
- intend to live in their acquired gender until death.
3.32. The Scottish Government’s research into countries using self-declaration systems of legal gender recognition has not identified evidence of false or frivolous statements being made by applicants. However, under the proposed self-declaration system for legal gender recognition, if an applicant were to make a statement in a statutory declaration that is false in a material particular, this would be an offence.
Now, you can change your passport without a gender recognition certificate, if you provide a letter from your doctor or medical consultant confirming that your change of gender is likely to be permanent, and evidence of your change of name such as a deed poll. You need a similar letter to change the gender marker on your driving licence, which is encoded in the driver number.
I changed my bank account fairly easily, after showing my change of name document, but could not find how to do this with my bank on line even now. Googling produced a report of the bank apologising when staff demanded a GRC. Ignorant prejudice, and an unwillingness to research sometimes liberal policies, makes our lives difficult.
It is a big thing for a man to declare they are a woman. It was intensely important for me. I could not move on with my life without doing it. It was what I wanted more than anything else in the world. I do not do it frivolously. I might be able to pass as a normal man, except that I would find the attempt too distressing. We change our presentation, and make ourselves vulnerable to transphobic violence from strangers, casual prejudice on the street, and discrimination in work and all aspects of life. We do not do this flippantly. We do not do it to get access to women’s loos.
So there are sufficient safeguards in the Scottish proposal. You promise to live in your acquired gender. When I transitioned, I thought I might revert, either because I decided transition had been wrong or because I found it too difficult, but I had to try. I express myself female, and while there might be questions about someone expressing androgynously it is a question like, how many hairs make a beard. You can’t produce a number which is a beard, but one less is not a beard; but you can make a decision fairly easily in most cases that someone is presenting in the acquired gender, and take a bit more care on more difficult cases.
Perhaps someone will do this frivolously, but I hope they will be frightened off. A JP swearing a stat dec could reasonably object if they did not think a person was presenting in the allegedly acquired gender. There are taboos against cross-dressing in public, and someone who is not trans will not like to do it. In 2016/17, 318 GRCs were granted in Britain. Fifteen were refused, and two applications were withdrawn. 4506 were issued to March 2017, and a further 206 in April to September.
The change to be made is that we will not need a specialist psychiatrist’s diagnosis. Having put myself at risk in this way, I want to be able to say I am Clare without the need for a psychiatrist backing me up. In any event, a psychiatrist using DSM V would diagnose me with Gender Dysphoria if I exhibited “a strong desire to be of the other gender” and “a strong desire to be treated as the other gender”. I show that by transitioning.