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GenderGP finds that OVER 90% of our community feel that reforms to the GRA do not go far enough:

  • 94% of respondents felt the need for a medical diagnosis should be removed.
  • 93% felt that the need for Real Life Experience should be removed.
  • 100% of respondents said that their wife / husband shouldn’t be needed to give their consent.

 

This year we saw the UK government deliver its findings following the long-awaited review of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). Key amongst the outcomes was the decision, despite very compelling arguments in favour of them doing so, that trans people would not be allowed to legally determine their own gender.

The GRA was drafted in 2004 in response to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that the UK Government was not adequately protecting trans people. Sixteen years later and we are no further forward.

While the GRA does give trans people the right to change their legal gender, the current requirement is that, in order to do so, they must produce evidence to a panel which determines whether their case is considered to “meet the criteria” – thereby issuing them with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) – or not.

Very few trans people make this application as the process is considered to be dehumanising. There is no provision in place for non-binary people. Recognising that there were inadequacies in the process, the UK Government opened a consultation in 2018 which received over 100,000 responses.

An overwhelming 78.6% of respondents to the 2018 consultation agreed with the notion of removing the requirement to provide evidence of having lived in an ‘acquired’ gender and 64.1% agreed that the requirement for a diagnosis of gender-dysphoria should be removed.

Despite this, the UK Government decided against any meaningful reforms to the process, focusing instead on the administrative elements that have historically led to frustrations. Reforms included: Placing the procedure online, reducing the fee from £140 to a “nominal amount” and a pledge to open at least three new gender clinics this year in order to reduce waiting lists. The outcomes met with widespread disappointment from the trans and non-binary community and their allies.

In response, the Women and Equalities Committee called for evidence from those most affected by the result of the consultation, in order to get a better understanding of if, and how, the consultation has failed to deliver.

We know from our community that, faced with yet another request to justify the reasons why they deserve equality, many felt defeated. As such, we took it upon ourselves to make the process of responding as easy as possible. We gathered together the questions and we invited trans people and those who support them to express how they feel. They could provide their own evidence in their own words, or add their name in support of GenderGP’s evidence, which was informed by our community members.

A significant 314 people signed in support of our responses. A further 78 people have given their own individual responses. All of this information has now been submitted by GenderGP, as a pack to the Women and Equalities Committee.

In submitting this collective response we aim to demonstrate the strength of feeling that exists within the trans community around the proposed reforms – the overwhelming sentiment being that they do not go far enough. We trust that in submitting this evidence, steps can be taken to examine why meaningful progress has been hindered and what will be done to rectify the matter.

 

How you really feel about the proposed reforms to the GRA

The below responses to our survey, shared with our community and their allies, provide some insight into the perceived shortcomings of the proposed reforms:

  • In response to question of whether the Government’s proposed changes met its aim of making the process “kinder and more straight forward” for trans and non-binary people, 79% of respondents said ‘No’.
  • 61% felt the fee for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate should be removed, with 36% stating it should be reduced. Only 3% of respondents felt it should remain as it is.
  • 94% of respondents felt the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria should be removed.
  • 93% felt there should be changes to the requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years.
  • 100% of respondents felt the spousal consent provision in the Act needed reforming.
  • More than half (57% of respondents) felt the age limit at which people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) should be lowered.
  • In response to the question of what impact the proposed changes would have on those applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, and on trans people more generally, 74% of respondents felt it would have very little or no impact, with only 19% feeling the changes would have a positive impact.
  • When asked why the number of people applying for GRCs is so low, compared to the number of people identifying as transgender, 85% of respondents stated the system and the cost.
  • When asked if the Equality Act adequately protect trans people 55% stated no, with 15% feeling it does so, but only partially.
  • 93% of respondents felt that legal reforms are needed to better support the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people.
  • 97% or respondents felt the Scottish Government’s proposed Bill offers a more suitable alternative to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

 

The following quotes were taken directly from the submissions. We have permission to share these anonymously:

 

“Please, I beg of you, listen this time. We are so tired of our lives being a debate. I don’t want to die, I want to live and this government keeps making that so unbearably hard.”

 

“The requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years does nothing but reinforce gender stereotypes.”

 

“Under no circumstances should a spouse or civil partner be able to limit an individual’s body autonomy and their right to be legally considered the gender that is most appropriate to them.”

 

“Self-declaration will mean an individual has the right to be treated with respect and without ambiguity, especially in health and in old age.”

 

“Scrap the GRC and allow birth certificates to be amendable. Incorrect sex on a birth certificate is the mistake of the clinician who recorded gender at the time of birth, not that of the trans individual.”

 

“The requirement that a transgender individual must prove in some way that they have lived according to a certain set of criteria in order to validate their gender, or that they must have their gender subjected to medical evaluation, is what causes us the most distress.”

 

“The requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years is an unreasonable ask. What does it even mean? It is purely presentation? or pronouns? A name change? How is this determined? Why two years? Trans people know who they are.”

 

“On the subject of spousal consent: Gender Identity belongs to the individual.”

 

“The proposed changes to the GRA do little other than to squash the hope of things becoming easier for a community already struggling with so much.”

 

“Please let trans people themselves have a deciding factor in how they live their lives.”

 

If you want to know more, you can read the thoughts of our head of therapy, Marianne Oakes in this blog post.

You can also tune in to this conversation between some of our team members, discussing how the announcements impacted them.

 

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about this post or any other matter relating to you, or someone you support, please visit our Help Centre.

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