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LGBT Foundation responds to reforms of the Gender Recognition Act

Published: 22 September 2020 Tags: , gra By LGBT Foundation

LGBT Foundation is incredibly disappointed by the announced reforms to the Gender Recognition Act in England and Wales, falling far short of our expectations and the expectations of our communities.

The consultation on the reform of the Gender Recognition Act in 2018 received over 100,000 responses; the vast majority of people who responded to the consultation agreed that the system of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate was unnecessarily complex, invasive and expensive.

  • Around 4 in 5 (80.3%) respondents were in favour of removing the requirement for a medical report, which details all treatment received
  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64.1%) said that there should not be a requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in the future
  • A majority of respondents (78.6%) were in favour of removing the requirement for individuals to provide evidence of having lived in their acquired gender for a period of time

The announcement today fails to take into account the views expressed in the consultation responses, and means that the experiences of trans and non-binary people have been pushed to the side. We are also disappointed to see that the Government has decided not to use this opportunity to allow non-binary people the chance to gain legal recognition of their gender. 64.7% of valid responses to the consultation agreed that there needs to be changes to the Gender Recognition Act to to accommodate non-binary individuals. A lack of non-binary inclusion leaves a significant portion of the trans population without any legal recognition.

Trans and non-binary people already face an incredibly amount of inequalities in everyday life, and the system as it currently stands makes these worse. Significant reform of the Gender Recognition Act is long overdue to bring it up to date and in line with the standards set internationally on trans equality. Today’s announcement represents a setback for our communities, and a huge missed opportunity for the government.

In the past two years since the consultation was first announced, trans and non-binary communities have faced unprecedented and sustained attacks from sections of the media and public figures on an almost daily basis. Framed as a debate, this divisive and sometimes vicious rhetoric has had a deep impact on our communities, leaving many trans and non-binary people feeling scared, isolated and unwelcome in society. After such a long and difficult process, we understand the immense hurt and disappointment people will be feeling today and we feel it with you.

Laurence Webb, Assistant Director of Inclusion for LGBT Foundation, says:

“As a trans person myself and as a professional who specialises in developing more inclusive services and interventions for marginalised communities, I found the statement difficult to read. It is disappointing to see trans people being presented as though we are not biological like everyone else, and to see years of trans peoples’ research into the complexities and nuances of gender ignored in favour of an antagonistic approach that pits marginalised groups against each other. I stand in solidarity with all trans and non-binary people who have woken up to this difficult reading today and pledge to keep working alongside you all to build a world where all of us are able to live safely and with dignity.”

Today and every day, our communities stands together in solidarity with trans communities and rejects all attempts to harass, silence and misrepresent trans people. Amidst continued hostility and misrepresentation of trans people, including non-binary and gender diverse people, in the media, online and in everyday life, we stand #TogetherWithTrans on the common principles of freedom, dignity and safety for all.

To trans and non-binary communities we say that whilst the present may be very upsetting, we want to remind you that you are not alone. We love you and we will always be here if you need us. Despite many attempts, our communities are more united today than we have ever been. Those who oppose equality have only succeeded in bringing us all closer together. Everyone at LGBT Foundation will continue to advocate for trans and non-binary communities, and fight for a fair and equal society for all.

If you need to speak to someone, as always we are here if you need us - you can call us on 0345 3 30 30 30.