Written evidence submitted by Mr Stoter [GRA1683]
It is a step in the right direction, particularly around the reduced fee. However, the anonymous, bureaucratic nature of the Gender Recognition Panels, including the fact that they never meet the individual, and that they regularly reject applications on the basis of precise and complex paperwork requirements, suggests to me that further reform is still needed.
My view is that the fees should be removed. Many aspects of transition involve heavy costs, especially as NHS care has such long waiting times that many turn to private care.
Yes. Medicalisation of being trans is in many ways infantilising – requiring a ‘grown-up’ doctor to assess how well an individual knows themself. Their own self-declaration should be enough.
There are so many potential hurdles to this being a criterion for obtaining a GRC that there would be no way of fairly and safely setting criteria by which this could be judged. For example, individuals who have an unsafe home life, or feel that their employment could be at risk if they come out at work.
Some individuals may find this applies to them, and may even gain some benefit from it, but there are also a lot of cases where it would not be applicable (e.g. non-binary individuals). It also ignores the fact that there is a (very small) contingent of trans individuals who do eventually detransition. Therefore making it a mandatory, universal requirement is exclusionary to those individuals. If there were a way of retaining it but making it optional, that would be preferable. If there is a concern about the system being abused, something like a limitation on how often an individual can apply would seem to make sense (e.g. yearly, or once in 5 years).
The ability of a spouse to veto an individual’s transition seems open to abuse, especially given that divorce or separation can take a long time. My feeling is that a spouse should be informed, but even then there are opportunities for a vindictive spouse to make it impossible for the trans individual to provide evidence that they have received the information. My proposal would be that the trans individual should provide evidence of having made a reasonable attempt to inform their spouse, and that should be considered sufficient. However, at the fundamental level transition and the obtaining of a GRC is about the trans individual, no-one else, not even their spouse.
No, I think that the current age limit is appropriate, so long as there is sufficient support available for younger individuals to transition socially and, if necessary, medically before then.
As I mentioned at the top, I think the initial proposals are a small positive step in the right direction, but that there is more that is needed, especially around the bureaucratic nature of the process and the anonymised nature of the GR panels.
Reform of the GR panels giving the applying individual an opportunity to meet the panel and explain any gaps in their evidence, rather than having to deal with the stress and lost time of repeated back-and-forthing of paperwork.
I don’t have any views on this
The aforementioned bureaucracy of the process would seem to be a major cause
There do seem to be. For example, there are some anti-trans activists who use the wording of the Equality Act to try to deny access to women’s spaces to trans women. My view is that their reading of the Equality Act is wrong, but it does appear that the wording is open to that abuse.
See previous response.
In theory, the Equality Act does provide a lot of protection. In practice, transphobes and anti-trans activists are still able to skirt around the intent of the law to still do harm to trans people, especially around excluding them from spaces and work.
Transphobes and anti-trans activists have made it a major issue of their platform to deny access to these spaces to trans people (especially trans women). The Equality Act should in theory prevent this, but it does not seem to be effectual.
Yes, the same protections (including legal recognition) should be applied to all trans people, for the same reasons – the government should trust people to know who they are.