Written evidence submitted by Councillor Phoenix Adair (GRA0070)

Introduction

I am Cllr Phoenix Adair a Liberal democrat councillor at Preston City Council and just happen to be the first Trans (Non-Binary) councillor in the council’s history and therefore feel strongly about the need to reform the Gender Recognition Act.


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

There should be no requirement for individuals to have live in their gender for two years. Spending two years before the government acknowledges who you are is a degrading and humiliating process for anyone to go through.

People going through this process have nothing to prove, not to themselves nor to the government. Having to spend two years before you can finally get a GRC so that one can change their gender on official documents and work details is also humiliating.

 

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

A diagnosis of gender dysphoria is also another degrading, humiliating and stigmatising process that was introduced by the government to humiliate the individual going through the process to be recognised by government and other organisations.

Changing ones gender shouldn’t need a diagnosis, which sounds as if the person is ill or is suffering from some form of mental illness. Trans people aren’t ill, they just want to be recognised for who they are and not what society decides they are.

 

3. Why is the number of people applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate so low compared to the number who identify as transgender?

The cost of having two reports to confirm gender dysphoria (2 x £80) and the government’s administrative fee (£140) are two of the issues Trans people face when deciding if they want a gender recognition certificate, two other issues are mentioned above.

The whole process should be changed to signing a statutory declaration, similar to a name change deed in which a person renounces their assigned gender at birth and instead changes to their true gender. Ireland, Malta, Norway, Argentina, Portugal, Belgium and other areas have a statutory declaration process or similar.

This would cut administration fees, stop the humiliating and stigmatising process of Trans men and woman and actually have more of an uptake to that of the current process.

4. Are legal reforms needed to better support the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people?

Legal reforms are a must when it comes to supporting the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people. Currently non-binary individuals are protected under The Equality Act 2010 (The Employment Tribunal: Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover (Case No.: 1304471/2018)) But that doesn’t go far enough. Non-Binary individuals like myself need to be recognised and be legally allowed to identify as whatever gender identity we choose (or non in the case of agender).

Currently I find it humiliating when I have to sign up to anything and the only options I have is to select a Male or Female title and a Male or Female gender, when I do not identify as either. What Gender and title would you pick in this case? That assigned to you at birth, or another gender you don’t identify with?

Legally allowing self-identification  which would better support gender-fluid and non-binary individuals would ensure that businesses become more inclusive by providing genderless options on paperwork, titles such as Mx help, they would have to make genderless washrooms available, so that those who identify as non-binary have a washroom to use, as well as to feel accepted and valid.

 

Recommendations to the committee

1. Self-declaration for non-binary people

This would require a statutory declaration that the person is living permanently in their chosen gender identity, with no requirement to provide any psychiatric report or diagnosis.

2. Non-Binary Inclusion

Non-Binary individuals should be allowed to legally change their gender on official documents to reflect who they are and what gender they identify as, they should be able to have their gender legally recognised, just like other trans people can.

3. Inclusion for young trans people

Trans people under the age of 16 should be able to have their gender recognised, with the consent of the young person’s parent or legal guardians.

4.  Remove the £140 application fee to change gender on birth certificate completely.

 

 

October 2020