Written evidence submitted by Ms Katherine Johnston (GRA0057)

My name is Katherine Johnston.  I am a 43 year old transwoman, writing in partial response to questions posed in the Gender Recognition Act call for evidence.

 

Will the Government’s proposed changes meet its aim of making the process “kinder and more straight forward”?

 

To an extent.  Moving online is certainly a step in the right direction.  To truly qualify as kind I think the government would need to demonstrate, in contrast to recent events, that it was genuinely sympathetic to transpeople.

 

Should a fee for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate be removed or retained? Are there other financial burdens on applicants that could be removed or retained?

 

A nominal fee to cover the cost of processing seems reasonable – possibly with exemptions for those in receipt of benefits.

 

Should the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria be removed?

 

I have no personal objection to being transgender being considered through a medical lens, but I know some people do, so I’d just say it’s not a trivial issue.

 

Should there be changes to the requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years?

 

Again, difficult.  As things stand it is practically mandated that all transpeople must suffer a lengthy period of discrimination during which they are expected to demonstrate transition while not actually being recognised as fully able to do so!  Furthermore this leads to a degree of prescriptivism with respect to gender roles.

What impact will these proposed changes have on those people applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, and on trans people more generally?

 

Cautiously positive, I hope.  I’m more confident to apply for a certificate now, at least.

 

Why is the number of people applying for GRCs so low compared to the number of people identifying as transgender?

 

It’s been Byzantine.

 

What issues do trans people have in accessing support services, including health and social care services, domestic violence and sexual violence services?

 

I was sexually assaulted, a long time ago.  The thought that people could be denied access to or referred to inappropriate support services is deeply upsetting. 

 

Are legal reforms needed to better support the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people? If so, how?

 

Not of direct personal concern but a legal acknowledgement of the existence of gender-fluid and non-binary identities in official documentation would be helpful, I should think, if only in the form of a general “non binary, Other” response field to questions.

 

 

October 2020