Written evidence submitted by Thom Allan [GRA1908]
I am a 31 year old cis man currently living in Leeds. My partner is a trans man who, after a five-year waiting period, started a hormone prescription late last year and has recently had confirmation surgery.
I am deeply surprised and disappointed at the paucity of the Government's response to the previous GRA consultation. The previous consultation got a response from the public hugely in favour of drastic progressive reform of the law surrounding issues of gender identity - that the Government was willing to simply ignore the wishes of so many citizens is deeply concerning, and I hope the Committee will be pushing for a greatly-improved response this time.
Question: Will the Government’s proposed changes meet its aim of making the
process “kinder and more straight forward”?
They are a tiny, tiny step in the correct direction, especially given the
clear response of the previous consultation.
Question: 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?
Removed entirely. There is no actual need for a fee at all, it is just
another obstacle keeping people that need a Certificate from getting one.
Question: Should the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria be
It should be removed - not all trans people have dysphoria, and so
dysphoria should not be considered a requirement.
Question: Should there be changes to the requirement for individuals to
have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years?
The waiting period is unnecessary and should be removed - it is essentially
a gatekeeping exercise for whether someone is ''trans enough'' by a
nebulous set of standards.
Question: What is your view of the statutory declaration and should any
changes have been made to it?
They should be able to declare their own gender. A person's internal
identity is something they know better than anyone else.
Question: 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?
It should be removed. A person's gender identity, and the recognition of
it, is not up to their spouse to decide.
It is worth noting that only good has come of the Scottish removal of the
Question: Should the age limit at which people can apply for a GRC be
Sixteen seems a reasonable age. At that age, a person can change their name
and get their own passport - it isn't the responsibility or right of their
parents anymore. An official declaration of gender identity naturally fits
with these sorts of rights.
Question: What impact will these changes have on those people applying for
a GRC, and on trans people more generally?
Moving the process completely online will not necessarily make it more
accessible, just differently so. Easy internet access is not universal,
even in our country.
Reducing the fee will help more people who need one to get a GRC, but
waiving the fee entirely would be in every way the best option.
Opening new clinics will help, but this was something the NHS was doing
already and the current government should not be given credit for it. If
they were to open any additional clinics over and above this, that would
greatly benefit trans people and reduce the financial burden many suffer
when they must look to private care instead of being able to rely on the
In summary - these measure will help very slightly. The amount of positive
change that could and should happen is much, much greater than what is
Question: What else should the Government have included in its proposals,
Self-declaration of gender identity for everyone that wishes to, legal
recognition of non-binary as a gender identity, and commitment to increased
and reliable funding for gender identity services. Additional clinics would
also be a good step.
Question: Does the Scottish Government’s proposed Bill offer a more
suitable alternative to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004?
This would be a more suitable system, but the key word is more. It would be
an improvement, but it falls short of the ideal. Again, it does not
recognise non-binary identities and it requires a person to have ''lived
in'' their acquired identity for a period.
Question: Why is the number of people applying for GRCs so low compared to
the number of people identifying as transgender?
The process is awkward, lengthy and dehumanising. People identifying as
non-binary cannot apply, and nor can people who do not have a diagnosis of
Additionally, being on a government list of a much discriminated-against
minority is off-putting for a lot of people who do not necessarily trust
that it will be used securely and ethically.
Question: Are there challenges in the way the Gender Recognition Act 2004
and the Equality Act 2010 interact?
There are some, but the issue is minor compared to a lot of the issues
currently being looked at
Question: 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?
They are sufficient at present. Again, they are not one of the more
Question: Does the Equality Act adequately protect trans people? If not,
what reforms, if any, are needed?
It is adequate at present.
Question: What issues do trans people have in accessing support services,
including health and social care services, domestic violence and sexual
Waiting times before trans people can access NHS transition services are
excessively long, and these are the only services with such excessive
waiting periods not reliant on outside factors (such as donor organ
My partner was on a waiting list for five years before being able to access
any treatment at all, and that is easily long enough that many people will
never manage to meaningfully access NHS assistance.
Transphobia and/or a lack of education or understanding of trans issues are
an ongoing problem in basically every service.
Domestic violence and sexual violence services are mostly trans-inclusive
and have not had any problems stemming from this.
Question: Are legal reforms needed to better support the rights of
gender-fluid and non-binary people? If so, how?
Yes. Non-binary ad gender-fluid people are not legally recognised as
existing at all - a good first step would be the addition of a third
or ''other'' category for official forms and documentation, as is used in a
number of other countries in Europe and beyond.