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‘Small changes, new direction’ following Government’s GRA response

Cara English, Gendered Intelligence, Head of Public Engagement says:

“After years of hand-wringing, the Government has today laid out its intention to make surface-level changes to the Gender Recognition Act. This won’t come as a shock to most interested parties, but it is nevertheless disappointing in its scope.

“We welcome the step in the right direction to lower the financial barrier facing people wishing to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. But reforming a piece of legislation which is fundamentally broken does not and cannot mean slapping a discount sticker on it and expecting great results. Historically poor take-up of applications through the GRA is unlikely to be improved in any meaningful way, with such fundamentally inhumane vectors of gatekeeping as the Gender Recognition Panel still in place. The indignity of having to explain — in detail — your personal and private life to a group of strangers will remain. The required diagnosis of gender dysphoria (by two doctors) will remain.

“Following years of public ‘debate’, no one was expecting a response to be made which addressed our communities’ concerns in good faith, and so most of us were prepared to be met with these platitudinous changes. The collective frustration is where we were told democratic tools of engagement such as consultations would be respected, only to be later told that the 70% of responses to the consultation demanding positive change amounted to not very much at all.

“The good news is that the wider rigmarole around the GRA is over for now. We can breathe a collective sigh of relief and move attention onto issues which more directly affect our material conditions. However, having a protracted, internecine struggle foisted upon our communities for what is ultimately a slight relaxation in cost means faith in the UK Government’s ability to protect trans people is at a particularly low ebb. Our priorities as trans communities in the UK remain improving our basic healthcare, tackling discrimination and hate, and improving our position within society. We at Gendered Intelligence hope that the Government’s commitments to reduce waiting times at trans healthcare services are a step in the right direction, and we will do what we can to ensure this becomes a reality.

“Earlier this year, trans communities in the UK were facing much worse: mooted plans to further exclude trans people from public life and robust healthcare were repeatedly ‘leaked’ to the press. In response, Gendered Intelligence launched #TrusstMe, a campaign to write to the Prime Minister, MPs and Ministers to push back on this. Over 44,000 people mobilised around this, helping make sure that as a country we don’t go backwards, even if we’re not exactly going forwards. Thank you to everyone who wrote and called their MP, and everyone who otherwise rallied around trans people.

“Baby steps seems to be the name of the game, however frustrating this piecemeal approach to change may be to all of us. But change truly is afoot.

“The coming months and years will see improvements to the lives of trans people in the UK, regardless of seeming slowness. Working together and with a collective voice, trans people and trans-led organisations will ensure that barriers to our full participation in society are removed. From Gendered Intelligence, we wish to say thank you for being with us on this long journey”.

ENDS

Amendment for clarification: the changes to the Gender Recognition Act process apply only to England and Wales. Scotland has a separate and continued consultation process. Where we are able to work with our colleagues and friends in Scotland to improve on this devolved piece of legislation when the Scottish Government makes an announcement, we will do so proudly.

Email: cara.english@genderedintelligence.co.uk

Phone: 07938 502 510