U-turn fears on allowing trans and non-binary to self-ID

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U-turn fears on allowing trans and non-binary to self-ID

Proposed changes that would have allowed non-binary and transgender people to change their birth certificates without medical diagnosis could be dropped by the Government.

It is believed Boris Johnson has made a U-turn on the reforms, the Sunday Times reported over the weekend.

The plans looked at updating the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which would have made it easier for transgender and non-binary people to legally recognise their gender and identity, the Manchester Evening News has reported.

Instead, according to the Sunday Times, the Government could be looking at tightening guidelines.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) requires a detailed psychiatric assessment confirming a diagnosis of gender dysphoria before the gender on a birth certificate can be legally changed.

The Government said it would hold a public consultation on proposed GRA reforms in 2018, with the hope there would be changes and that anyone may be able to declare their gender.

“These reforms would make it more straightforward for people to get legal recognition of their gender,” Rob Cookson, Deputy Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, said.

“The current process for changing the legal gender on a person’s birth certificate is expensive, intrusive and dehumanising.

“Reform is long overdue and there is a real risk of further rollbacks to hard-won LGBT rights if these media reports are shown to be true.”

Amnesty International UK said the ‘extremely worrying’ plans to drop the reforms would see the UK plummet in its LGBT equality ranking.

“More than two years ago, the Government rightly set out a plan to reform the out-of-date Gender Recognition Act,” Chiara Capraro, Amnesty International’s Women’s Rights Programme Director, said in a statement.

“A U-turn on this would send a chilling message that the UK is a hostile place for trans people.

“Perpetuating wrong stereotypes of trans women as a danger to other women is dehumanising and wrong, and risks further inciting hate crimes against trans people.

“The UK is already slipping further and further down the European rankings for LGBT equality – falling from 3rd to 9th place over the past three years. The proposed move would no doubt see the UK plummet even further.   

“The UK has always prided itself on being a champion of LGBT equality – if it’s serious about this, it will update the Gender Recognition Act to ensure trans people can enjoy their rights, free from discrimination.”

A Government Equalities Office spokesperson said: “We will publish our response to our consultation on the Gender Recognition Act this summer.

“The minister for women and equalities has also made clear that she will be bringing forward plans to end conversion therapy shortly.”

National transgender charity Sparkle has organised for a public protest to take place in Manchester next month for people to show solidarity for the trans and gender diverse community.

“Sparkle shares the concern and anger of the trans, non-binary/genderfluid and intersex community following yesterday’s Sunday Times front page article,” Lee Clatworthy, Acting Chair of the Board of Trustees at Sparkle, said.

“Many of the points contained within the article are consistent with the address that Liz Truss recently gave to the Women & Equalities Select Committee, and it’s become obvious that we are trapped in a contrived culture war with trans and gender non-conforming people seen as collateral damage by Boris Johnson’s Government.

“The ‘We Are The 70%’ protest is named after the 70% of respondents to the Gender Recognition Act consultation who support a fairer and less medicalised process for Gender Recognition Certificate applications.

“We also want to connect with other cisgender straight and LGB people who may not consider themselves trans allies, but do believe in the everyone’s right to freedom, dignity, and equal access to services.”

The  ‘We Are The 70%’ protest  will take place at Albert Square on July 11.

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