Written evidence submitted by Mx Moody [GRA1727]
Q1 Will the Government’s proposed changes meet its aim of making the process “kinder and more straight forward”?
Trans people want statutory declaration of gender, the same system that is like the one introduced in Ireland, and many other countries around the world, including those that are considered third world countries, which considering we like to pride ourselves on being first world and progressive, the fact we do not have this is both embarrassing and a travesty.
Not to mention it was originally proposed by Theresa May’s government.
Obviously the current reforms are 'slightly' better than nothing but they are still still the absolute bare minimum and are highly problematic, and I would have been embarrassed to have suggested such mediocre changes after Theresa May's original proposals after multiple consultations about whether trans people are allowed rights or not.
Here are some of the main issues:
1. Pathologisation; despite the WHO depatholgising Gender Incongruence in the upcoming ICD-11 the (slightly) changed GRC system still requires input from the medical profession. This runs counter to current medical best practice globally.
2. Costs, takes forever, and is a ridiculous system that most trans people can't even stomach getting into because of how long it can take and how dehumanising it is.
3. The fact that it makes trans people have to jump through hoops in hope that a cis person will let us be acknowledged as our gender, when no cis person holds a certificate, so however this system is reformed it will always discriminate against trans people in relation to cis people.
4. Centralisation and security; a centralised register of trans people in the UK, held in a filing cabinet or on a computer in Whitehall will always be a target for the political extreme right, blackmailers and transphobes. Which will put trans people's lives at risk.
5. It still symbolically situates trans people as inherently problematic when the problem is transphobia and cultural cisgenderism in the systems and media culture of this country.
Ultimately what you are asking with these questions is for trans people to agree to continue to be discriminated against, just a little bit less than we have been in the recent past.
Can you imagine being any other minority being asked to agree to terms that means they'll be ever so slightly less discriminated against? There would be uproar. Trans people are tired of this nonsense.
Cis people need to be kept out of our rights. Let me self declare my gender, and be trusted I know who and what I am already. I can vote, I can pay taxes, bills, be continuously employed for over a decade, trusted to work in a safety critical environment where one wrong move and people's lives could be put in danger, volunteer with youth groups and communities and have a certificate to safe I am safe to work with children. Yet I am not trusted to know that I am Non-binary? Something I have known since childhood, because cis people can't comprehend that we might know something about ourselves?
Transphobes and TERFs have called me a sexual predator like they do every single trans person, yet continuously have ignored the facts that cis people are more dangerous to cis people than trans people are. They conveniently ignore the fact that I am a survivor from both cis men and cis women who at different occasions in my life sexually assaulted, tried to rape and murder me, as well as stalked me.
You want to know what my agenda is? To have my gender acknowledged, to be able to live safely and not face continuous transphobia and have my life be a 'debate' about whether I have the right to exist or not. Cis people don't have to get medical a medical diagnosis to be cis. They know they're cis. Why do I need one to be trans, when I know I am trans?
This is why the least intrusive system for gender transition should be the statutory declaration system that exists in countries like Ireland, opposed to being allowed to discriminate.
Q2 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?
The current nonsense system should not remain in existence and should be replaced with the statutory declaration system currently operating in many other jurisdictions including Ireland. Doing this would remove all costs other than the £5 solicitor’s fee, which they will often waive anyway.
Q3 Should the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria be removed?
Yes, obviously. You don't need gender dysphoria to be trans. You just have not to be the same gender as your assigned gender at birth. That is literally it. Cis people are only cis because their gender is the same as their assigned gender at birth.
Therefore trans people should have, as closely as possible, the same rights as cisgender people. We should have the right to live our lives without this kind of intrusive measure. To do otherwise is discriminatory. That is why the right to statutory self-declaration of gender through a solicitor is the most equitable solution, while retaining the provisions in the Equality Act to prevent discrimination and intrusive harassment.
Q4 Should there be changes to the requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years?
It shouldn't be criteria in the first place. It's discriminatory. How many years do cisgender people have to live as their acquired gender before they're consider their gender?
Why should there be a lower level of trust applied to trans people than cis people?
In almost all of the jurisdictions where statutory declaration of gender is in operation there is no such requirement, and where there is, it is a post-declaration requirement to wait for a period.
Trans people should not be treated any differently from cisgender people, the more requirements that are imposed on us, the more discriminatory the system is.
The following jurisdictions (and probably others also) permit trans people to change their gender by self-declaration, usually a statutory declaration in front of a solicitor;
Countries: Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Taiwan, Uruguay. States/provinces: California, Mexico City, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Victoria (Australia), some provinces in Canada.
Anti-trans groups in the UK have made a great deal out of the suggestion that statutory self-declaration of gender would lead threaten cisgender women’s rights or result in more violence against cisgender women as a consequence.
Unfortunately for anti-trans groups there is zero evidence of their supposed hypothetical situations ever happening in any of the above countries and if there had have been a single story every single UK media outlet would have made thousands of stories about it because they are anti-trans.
Additionally there is evidence from a peer-reviewed academic study; Hasenbush et al (2018) which found, from an empirical study in Massachusetts, that permitting trans people to use the toilets that match their gender identity and expression did not result in any increase in assaults on cisgender women. So the objections to moving to a statutory declaration system are both unfounded and contradicted by the evidence.
Hasenbush, A; Flores, A & Herman, J (2018) Gender identity Nondiscrimination Laws in Public Accommodations: a Review of Evidence Regarding Safety and Privacy in Public Restrooms, Locker Rooms and Changing Rooms Journal of Sexuality and Social Policy16 70-83
Q5 Does the spousal consent provision in the Act need reforming? If so, how? If it needs reforming or removal, is anything else needed to protect any rights of the spouse or civil partner?
I’m not sure what rights need to be protected. If they don't want to stay with their trans partner they can separate or divorce like cis people do. I don't see why a spouse should be able to stop me living my life just because they don't like that I am trans. Can you imagine the uproar if a man tried to stop his wife from living her life? We would rightly call him an abuser.
Let's not protect cis abusers who want to stop trans people from living their lives authentically.
Q6 Should the age limit at which people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) be lowered?
Definitely, but let's instead scrap this flawed system and go with something far better, humane and more inline with what other countries have that have worked for them with no problems, and none of the hypothetical arguments that Terfs and transphobes will be making. If I am allowed to vote, pay taxes, work and in every other way be deemed capable to make decisions about my life, why can't I be trusted to know my own gender?
Q7 What impact will these proposed changes have on those people applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, and on trans people more generally?
It's still nonsense. Scrap it, allow self ID, make it considerably cheaper, faster and not absolutely humiliating, and do not store it on a system that could endanger trans lives.
(Cis people don't have to jump through all these hoops to be seen as their gender so why should trans people have all these silly obstacles just to be themselves?)
Q8 What else should the Government have included in its proposals, if anything?
Getting rid of the current system because we're backwards by comparison to many countries around the world who actually treat their trans people better and allow them to self ID (even Ireland that's normally more conservative and is a very Christian country that only recently allowed abortion to be legal are ahead of the UK with trans rights) and unsurprisingly haven't had any of these hypothetical nonsense that the thousands of TERFs and transphobes who will also be responding to this consultation.
Also acknowledge Non-binary people and let us be protected and be able to change our own gender markers.
Q9 Does the Scottish Government’s proposed Bill offer a more suitable alternative to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004?
(I don't live in Scotland so I am not answering this question)
Q10 Why is the number of people applying for GRCs so low compared to the number of people identifying as transgender?
Because the whole GRC system is ridiculous, humiliating and dehumanising, not to mention having that information stored as a list that if it gets leaked could get us killed. Don't forget some countries have allowed lists of LGBTQIA+ people to be printed in newspapers and many of those people have then been murdered for the 'crime' of simply existing.
Given the UK is also known as a TERF and transphobe cesspool by people from all over the world, I am sure everyone can imagine why there's not many people taking the risk to get a silly certificate that cis people aren't required to get to be taken seriously.
Q11 Are there challenges in the way the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010 interact? For example, in terms of the different language and terminology used across both pieces of legislation.
No, these are separate pieces of legislation. The Equality Act should not be reopened, it deals with separate issues. The anti-trans campaigners will try and argue otherwise of course but they are wrong. The Equality Act need to protect trans people in the way we need to be protected so that we can live our lives free from discrimination. The GRA is in effect officially coded discrimination against trans people, it should not exist in its current form, it needs to change so that it embodies full equality for trans people, as in so many other countries in the world.
Q12 Are the provisions in the Equality Act for the provision of single-sex and separate-sex spaces and facilities in some circumstances clear and useable for service providers and service users? If not, is reform or further guidance needed?
I can't answer this, just because the mere mention of single-sex and separate-sex spaces has been used as terf dog whistles for so long that I can't read it without rolling my eyes.
Q13 Does the Equality Act adequately protect trans people? If not, what reforms, if any, are needed?
The Equality Act protects us in principle based on protecting gender, but does not protect trans people from media disinformation campaigns and the disinformation spread by the anti-trans campaign groups to demonise us, and make us be seen as less than human.
Other countries have legislation in place that directly protects trans people, as any civilised country should, and I honestly can't believe in 2020 we're having another look at reforms because Terfs and transphobes can't handle us existing.
Instead they're creating a hate campaign that is increasing the amount of violence we face for existing.
I wouldn't touch the Equality Act because then we'll be blame by Terfs groups for trying to "lessen the protections of cis women". Just give us our own law that protects us.
Q14 What issues do trans people have in accessing support services, including health and social care services, domestic violence and sexual violence services?
We don't know what support services are actually safe. Unless somewhere states that they are trans safe and makes it obvious they include Non-binary people, I won't use them.
Because it could literally put my life endanger going to the wrong place because I thought they included me, but actually are only for cis people.
The media being full of disinformation and absolute demonising nonsense means I have had cis people find out I am Non-binary and accuse me of being a sexual predator because I happen to exist in a world where idiots equate me existing to suddenly being a predator. And understandably so, I do not like to be accused of such disgusting and horrific thing, it's one of the most offensive things you can accuse and call a person, and not only that, this disinformation spread by the likes of the UK media, including people like Piers Morgan and J K Rowling, means that my life, and the life of millions of other trans people is put in danger.
Q15 Are legal reforms needed to better support the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people? If so, how?
100% with everything. We aren't acknowledged by UK law, most cis people do not believe we exist.
I have had multiple messages from 'friends' who have listened to the UK media spout nonsense for years, sending me huge reams of messages about how me daring to ask for the bare minimum of respect (using my name and pronouns) is an attack on their freedom of speech and how I am a Nazi for it. I don't know about you, but being told by someone who's meant to be your friend that he hates trans people and that we should sit down and shut up and basically let the cis society continue to oppress us because how dare we speak up and have voices. Yet he's perfectly able to because without the protection of UK law and acknowledgement that we exist, and the ability to change our gender markers to X or something like that, I don't exist.
Therefore what protections are in place to stop people from treating me less than human in any real and meaningful ways?
What little protections I do have, Terfs want to eat away at and make my life even more terrifying to live.
So yes, acknowledge we exist, let us change our gender markers, make it clear that hating on Non-binary people and threatening us is actually a hate crime and back it up.