Tagged: Gender Identity

Britons and Gender Identity – New report

Based on polling of more than 5,000 people and 20 focus groups, a new report finds that the divisive debate playing out in Westminster and social media is out of sync with the public’s approach to the issue – with only 2 percent thinking ‘the debate about transgender people’ is one of the most important issues facing the country.

Instead of angry debates and Twitter pile ons, the public want a ‘live and let live’ approach to trans people and case-by-case solutions not blanket policies. Most are aware of the issues involved, a quarter know someone who is transgender, and for most the starting points are compassion and common sense. More agree (46%) than disagree (32%) that a trans man is a man and a trans woman is a woman.  You can read the full report here: britons-and-gender-identity-navigating-common-ground-and-division-june-2022

 

Being trans does not need to be cured – transphobia does!

On Thursday 31st March – International Day of Trans Visibility, of all days – the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced that the government’s plans for  the long-awaited ban on “conversion therapies” for LGBT+ people were to be scrapped. After an outcry from MPs and members of the public, there was a partial U-turn that left trans people unprotected. Conversion therapies are any interventions that that try to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity through, for example, pseudo-scientific counselling sessions, prayers and exorcisms. Whatever the practitioners and supporters of these activities call it, it is abuse! It should have been made illegal in this and every country many years ago.

We know that some anti-trans groups have been spreading fear and misinformation for years. They express false concern that if these hideous practices were to be made illegal the medical profession would be prevented from working with their trans clients. According to The Guardian (02.04.22, p7) “Nikki da Costa, a former director of legislative affairs at No 10, told the BBC that a ban would have ‘profound consequences for children struggling with gender dysphoria. It would create a situation where doctors, therapists, even parents would be deterred from exploring with a child any feelings of what else may be going on for fear of being told they’re trying to change a child’s identity. And that is deeply concerning.'”

This is total nonsense. What the law would have banned is any practice that only has one outcome, for example telling someone that they must be cis-gendered. Why are trans people being left unprotected? We need parliament to act to ban the odious and cruel practices that leave too many trans people scarred for life. It is hard being trans. No-one chooses to be trans. It is how we are born. It is who we are. When will those in power understand and respect that?

Congratulations to Jamie Wallis MP for coming out as trans

Being trans is not a choice! One is born trans and so the only choice is whether to suppress the fact that one is trans and risk mental health issues that might result, or come out to family and friends and risk rejection and/or ridicule and humiliation. This does happen, though not as often as trans people fear. Jamie Wallis MP, who announced in a statement on the eve of Trans Day of Visibility that he had been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, had been blackmailed by someone who had discovered that he was trans.

 

This is the reality that too many trans people face. We hope that Jamie Wallis’s story will give others the confidence to be their real selves, but of course, his dreadful experiences may lead to some trans people trying to hide even deeper. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to be ourselves in our everyday lives should be visible to others and demonstrate that trans people are just ordinary people trying to live their lives in peace and harmony with everyone else.

 

Meanwhile, we congratulate Jamie Wallis on his decision and hope that he will work to raise awareness and understanding of the challenges and issues that trans people face amongst his colleagues in Parliament.

Rights watchdog (EHRC) should lose its status

The so-called Equality and Human Rights Commission which is supposed to look after the rights of people has been taken over by a group of people with transphobic views. Stonewall, backed by the Good Law Project, has drawn up a submission to the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, calling for the EHRC to lose its “A rating”. The Beaumont Society also supports this action.

You can read the story here:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-60331962

 

Not everyone is born male or female

Here is an article by Carl Streed Jr and Frances Grimstad that appeared in The Independent on Tuesday 8th February 2022. One is a professor of medicine and the other is a professor of gynaecology. Their research and clinical experience show that sex designation is not something to take for granted. For those who don’t fit neatly into one of two categories –  and there are millions – an inappropriate classification on a birth certificate can have consequences that last a lifetime.

You can read the article here: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/transgender-male-female-sex-designation-doctors-b2010636.html

Gender recognition process urgently in need of reform, say MPs

A new report on the reform of the Gender Recognition Act was published on 21st December

The Beaumont Society welcomes a new report produced by the Women & Equalities Select Committee of the House of Commons. The Society’s President Dr Jane Hamlin was one of the witnesses called to be questioned by the Committee.

Despite taking two years to do so, the Government has failed to adequately respond to its own consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004, leaving a gender recognition process which is unfair and overly medicalised. In its new Report, Reform of the Gender Recognition Act, the cross-party Women and Equalities Committee describe the Government’s response to the 2018 consultation as ‘minimal’, and calls for urgent reforms to be made to the Act.  

  

Drawing on evidence from both trans rights and women’s rights groups, representing voices for and against reform, the Report considers the Government’s proposed amendments to the 17-year-old Act. Calling on Government Ministers to ‘properly engage’ with the Committee’s scrutiny, the Report makes a number of recommendations for meaningfully reforming the legislation, including the de-medicalisation of the gender recognition process, the removal of the spousal consent provision and the requirement to live in the acquired gender.  

  

The Report also considers the interplay between the GRA and the 2010 Equality Act, calling for consistency across the two and for greater clarity to be provided on exceptions, enabling employers, service providers and sports bodies to operate with confidence within the law.  

  

The Committee calls on the Government to: 

  

·       Remove the requirement of a ‘gender dysphoria’ diagnosis from the process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate, thus de-medicalising transition, as was supported by former Prime Minister Theresa May when commissioning the consultation. Instead, the focus must be shifted to a system of self-declaration. 

  

·       Remove the requirement for trans people to have lived in their acquired gender for two years- which, says the Report, ‘risks entrenching outdated and unacceptable gender stereotypes’, as well as the need for spousal consent. Instead, the Committee recommend, the body issuing the certificate must be given the power to issue annulments at the same time.  

  

·       Conduct a review on the- currently opaque- Gender Recognition Panel which approves applications for Gender Recognition Certificates, considering whether it would be appropriate to replace with the Registrar General for England and Wales. In the meantime, steps must be taken to make the operation and role of the panel more transparent.  

  

·       Urgently publish new guidance, incorporating worked examples and case studies, which would clarify where single-sex and separate-sex exceptions can be applied to the 2010 Equality Act. This is particularly relevant where, for example, women’s refuges and other service providers are left unclear as to whether the exclusion of trans people from certain spaces is in violation of the law.  

  

·       Develop a specific healthcare strategy for transgender and non-binary people, including training for GPs around treating trans and non-binary patients and improved access to support services. 

  

·       Commit to continuing to implement the LGBT Action Plan. The Committee expressed concerns that the plan seems to have been abandoned by the current Women and Equalities Minister, and seek clarity as to if, and why, this is the case. 

  

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, said: 

  

“The Government took nearly two years to respond to the consultation on an Act that was written at the turn of the millennium. The GRA is crying out for modernisation, and the Government has spectacularly missed its opportunity. This is an area of reform which has attracted strong opinions and debate, but there are areas- such as the removal a time period for living in an acquired gender- which many can agree on. The Government’s failure to implement even these changes- made clear in its consultation- suggest its lack of willingness to engage. 

  

“Being trans is not an illness. It is imperative that the Government de-medicalise the process of gender recognition by removing the outdated requirement for a gender dysphoria diagnosis. The current response to the 2018 consultation has amounted to little more than administrative changes. We are now calling on the Government to enact real, meaningful change.” 

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/8329/documents/84728/default/

    

‘This won’t improve the life of the average trans person’

Emma Elms has written an article for TOGETHERBAND about some of the issues around the Gender Recognition Act and the possible reforms that were discussed in 2018. Despite the vast majority of the 102,818 people who responded to the consultation process favouring reducing the bureaucracy and intrusive nature of the requirements to apply for a GRC, Liz Truss (Minister for Women & Equalities) announced a reduction in the fee. Whilst this is a welcome improvement, it is a minuscule step towards what is required. Liz Truss clearly has absolutely no idea what is involved for trans people who apply for a GRC. You can read Emma’s article here: https://togetherband.org/blogs/news/gender-recognition-certificate-fee-reduced

Another Look at Reforms to the Gender Recognition Act: Your opportunity to contribute to the discussion

Reform of the Gender Recognition Act

Inquiry

The Government has published its proposals for changes to the gender recognition process and set out how it plans to move forward. The Women and Equalities Committee will examine these proposals, gathering evidence on whether the Government’s proposed changes are the right ones and whether they go far enough.

This inquiry will explore what changes, if any, should be made to the existing legislation, in order for current legislation to improve transgender equality.

The written evidence published as part of this inquiry will be used to inform the work of the Committee. Publication of written evidence does not equate to an endorsement of the views it contains by the Committee.

The committee wants to hear your views. They say that they will welcome submissions from anyone with answers to the questions in the call for evidence. You can submit evidence until Friday 27 November 2020.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) sets out a process that allows individuals over the age of 18 to receive legal recognition of their acquired gender. Applicants must apply to the Gender Recognition Panel to receive a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which from the date of issue, considers the applicant, in law, to be of their acquired gender.

In July 2018 the Government opened a consultation on how best to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004. In September 2020, the Minister for Women and Equalities set out the Government’s proposals, in response to this consultation:

The Government said it would:

·       Place the whole procedure online

·       Reduce the fee from £140 to a “nominal amount”.

·       Open at least three new gender clinics this year in order to reduce waiting lists.

Alongside this Statement, the Government Equalities Office published an of the consultation response.

This inquiry focuses specifically on the questions below. The Committee encourages evidence from individuals as well as organisations.  You can answer as many or as few questions as you like.

The terms of reference set out below are split into two sections. The Committee may decide to conduct the inquiry over two different phases.

Terms of reference

The Government’s response to the GRA consultation:

  • Will the Government’s proposed changes meet its aim of making the process “kinder and more straight forward”?
  • Should a fee for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate be removed or retained? Are there other financial burdens on applicants that could be removed or retained?
  • Should the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria be removed?
  • Should there be changes to the requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years?
  • What is your view of the statutory declaration and should any changes have been made to it?
  • Does the spousal consent provision in the Act need reforming? If so, how? If it needs reforming or removal, is anything else needed to protect any rights of the spouse or civil partner?
  • Should the age limit at which people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) be lowered?
  • What impact will these proposed changes have on those people applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, and on trans people more generally?
  • What else should the Government have included in its proposals, if anything?
  • Does the Scottish Government’s proposed Bill offer a more suitable alternative to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004?

 

Wider issues concerning transgender equality and current legislation:

  • Why is the number of people applying for GRCs so low compared to the number of people identifying as transgender?
  • Are there challenges in the way the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010 interact? For example, in terms of the different language and terminology used across both pieces of legislation.
  • Are the provisions in the Equality Act for the provision of single-sex and separate-sex spaces and facilities in some circumstances clear and useable for service providers and service users? If not, is reform or further guidance needed?
  • Does the Equality Act adequately protect trans people? If not, what reforms, if any, are needed
  • What issues do trans people have in accessing support services, including health and social care services, domestic violence and sexual violence services?
  • Are legal reforms needed to better support the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people? If so, how?

 

You can submit evidence until Friday 27 November.

Your Submission

If your submission is accepted by the Committee, it will usually be published online. It will then be available permanently for anyone to view. It can’t be changed or removed.

If you have included your name or any personal information in your submission, that will be published too. Please consider how much personal information you want or need to share. Your contact details will never be published.

Decisions about publishing evidence anonymously, or about accepting but not publishing evidence, are made by the Committee. If you want to ask the Committee to keep your evidence anonymous (we’ll publish your evidence but not your name or personal details) or confidential (the Committee will read your evidence but it won’t be published) then please tick the box on the submission form. This lets the Committee know what you would like but the final decision will be taken by the Committee.

We can’t publish submissions that mention ongoing legal cases – contact us if you are not sure what this means for you.

More guidance on providing written evidence to a select committee can be found .

Please feel welcome to discuss any questions with the Committee staff at womeqcom@parliament.uk;

Signposting

We understand that the issues raised in this inquiry may be potentially complex or sensitive. The Committee cannot provide advice on cases.

 

If you would like support about any of the issues raised, you may wish to contact a specialist support service, such as:

 

– 0808 800 0082

– 0300 123 3393

– 116 123

 

If you would require additional advice or support on a range of other issues you may wish to contact on 03444 111 444.

 

Committees of the House of Commons are not able to take up individual cases but if you would like political support or advice you may wish to contact your local M.P.

Click on this link for more information: https://committees.parliament.uk/call-for-evidence/291/reform-of-the-gender-recognition-act/