Written evidence submitted by Ms Desirae Markland (GRA0043)

The Government’s response to the GRA consultation:

-          Not really. Putting the process online is a very minor step forward but the main problem has always been the need for diagnoses, treatment and extensive lived experience. It is certainly not kind to non-binary, gender-fluid or people under 18 as it doesn’t recognise they even exist.

-          I don’t see why it should cost more than getting a passport or even a driving license

-          Yes. As memorably stated by Theresa May being trans is not a disease. The only reason we so often suffer gender dysphoria is because of the way society treats us. Diagnoses are currently based on self-declaration. Psychological assessments consist simply of different ways of asking ‘are you trans?’ with the person being asked responding in different ways ‘yes’.

-          Yes. I would be perfectly happy to commit to a legally binding declaration with criminal penalties for misrepresentation and with a cooling off period of 3 months.

-          See above.

-          The spousal consent should be removed. If, as a result of declaration of gender identity a spouse wishes to divorce then that should be made as simple as possible but declaration should not be determined by anyone other than the trans person.

-          Yes. 99% of trans adolescents are fixed in their gender identity by the time they start puberty. Being recognised as their true identity is a vital part of developing in a healthy way.

-          The proposed changes will have next to no impact on either as virtually nothing has changed.

-          Removal of medical diagnosis

-          Removal of requirement for treatment and lived experience

-          Removal of spousal veto

-          Recognition of non-binary people and gender-fluid people

-          Ability to declare your true gender from the age of 16

-          Yes, they are light years ahead of the rest of the UK and have done a far better job with fewer resources and included detailed impact assessments. Having said that, they are still only proposals.

Wider issues concerning transgender equality and current legislation:

-          It gives little benefit (other than official state recognition and also if you want to marry) in exchange for a lot of painful hassle. From a day to day perspective being able to change your driving license and passport is much more important which thankfully does not require a GRC.

-          Everyone has different ideas of what ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ mean and to use them interchangeably can cause confusion. The only way trans people can be understood is in terms of gender identity. The use of the phrase ‘gender re-assignment’ is outdated, incomplete and should be replaced with gender identity or gender incongruence.

-          I believe they are since they haven’t caused any problems in the 10 years that the Act has been in place.

-          I believe it does although it is constantly under attack.

-          Trans people struggle every day just to survive. That struggle is exhausting and many trans people do not have the strength or the confidence to take on the extra battle of using the Equalities Act to defend themselves should any service providers discriminate against them. Having said that, I personally, have not suffered discrimination and from what I have read, the majority domestic violence and sexual violence service providers have done an admirable job in being very supportive.

-          Access to healthcare is another matter entirely and could almost be described as functionally non-existent. I waited 3 years just to get a first appointment to a gender identity clinic. The frustrating thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way and to change the way that trans healthcare is provided would even save money. It is not about providing more clinics (and the government’s claim to have done this is disingenuous to say the least) but rather about how and by whom that service is provided. The majority of the care could be provided by GPs if they were given simple training and support. At the moment we are all funnelled through a tiny and very expensive tertiary care system.

-          The first step would be to simply recognise that they exist.



October 2020