Written evidence submitted by Miss Holly Petch (GRA0017)
The Government’s response to the GRA consultation:
The process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate will not receive any fundamental change. It still costs money to obtain one, and a committee is still used to determine whether applicants are deserving of a GRC.
The fee poses an unnecessary limitation on who can obtain a GRC, as only people who can afford the “nominal fee” can try to obtain one. There is still the risk that the GRC request can be refused by the non-transgender committee reviewing each request.
The Dysphoria diagnosis is perfectly fine, provided it is being provided by a GP or other medical professional who not only has been appropriately trained in transgender healthcare but also carries the transgender patient’s best interests at heart.
This is a GRA requirement that has existed for several decades, coined in an era of healthcare that sought to discourage people from undergoing transition.
The two year requirement places another unnecessary delay on trans people obtaining the paperwork required to use their real name in multiple areas of their lives, including their marriage vows and on their gravestone.
The Statutory Declaration is a more appropriate method of verifying a change of gender, as a legal professional is needed as a witness and the trans person remains in control of the process.
The rights of the spouse are not affected by the trans person’s transition itself, but instead is harmed severely by the current GRA requirements. Currently, if the trans person wants to have their correct name on their marriage certificate, they must divorce their partner and remarry under their new name, as well as complete all the paperwork required to do both.
For younger transgender people, an age limit on obtaining a GRC does nothing but add unnecessary restraints on their ability to live their lives without worry. Most people are able to formulate their gender identity around a young age.
These proposed changes, while welcome, are still not enough to alleviate the unnecessary suffering placed on Transgender Britons trying to navigate the current UK transition service. Over 70% of respondents expressed a favorable response to the wider GRA reform that was initially proposed, it is insulting to ask about the impact of those changes again.
The government should not have dialed back on their promises of reforming the GRA system and implemented all of the reforms that they were advised to implement in the first place.
The draft bill that the Scottish Government introduced to reform the GRA in 2019 are almost universally better for transgender people than either the current UK rules in place or the limited reform already put forward.
Wider issues concerning transgender equality and current legislation:
The unnecessary cost combined with the risk that their application will be arbitrarily denied is significant enough to discourage people from applying to begin with, often because they cannot afford multiple attempts to have their name and gender legally changed in the current manner.
There are no challenges. Any potential conflicts between either Act should be resolved by using whichever Act would have the Transgender community’s best interests at heart. Transgender people are not a fad, they should not be mandated out of existence.
They are sufficiently clear, despite there being specific rules allowing services to exclude transgender women from crisis support services.
The Equality Act has sufficient rules for supporting trans people. The problems arising in society are stemming from the fact that these rules are being ignored on a widespread basis.
The vast majority of issues stem from the support services in question actively keeping trans people from using their services. Either due to being ill-informed about trans people or maliciously excluding them due to their own beliefs in violation of the Equality Act.
Many legal reforms are needed to support every gender-nonconforming person in the UK. However, effort must be made not only to contact transgender groups for their advice, but caution must be maintained to keep hateful parties throughout both the community and the government from misinforming the inquiry with hurtful myths about the trans community.