Written evidence submitted by Mr Alain Forbes [GRA1912]
Should the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria be removed?
I believe that someone being allowed legally to change their gender is an extremely radical process, already and so it is dangerous to remove the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. There is also the real risk of (already there have been cases of men claiming to be female in order to gain access to single-sex facilities, to the detriment of women).
This proposal goes the opposite way to the view of the Director of the UK’s Gender Identity Development Service, Dr Polly Carmicahel who has admitted we should be “asking questions about whether people are getting caught up in something”.
Should there be changes to the requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years?
Given how important and usually permanent that this decision is, we should not be shortening the process for it to happen. There are cases of individuals who have gone through with this and regretted it subsequently and wished that they were affirmed too quickly
What is your view of the statutory declaration and should any changes have been made to it?
If someone is still determined to change their legal gender, I think that it is appropriate and necessary that they should have to make a solemn declaration that they wish to do this, and affirm that they fully understand what they are doing, and have thought through all the consequences. Making it easy is like couples deciding to get married on the spot in Las Vegas – it is too important to just do on a whim.
Does the spousal consent provision in the Act need reforming?
A marriage consists of solemn promises made between two people, which should be respected by all. As such there are 2 people in the marriage and one partner alone should not be able to change the legal nature of their marriage by one spouse wish to change their legal sex against the will of the other.
Should the age limit at which people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate be lowered?
Teenage years are often difficult where things are in flux (especially with all the known influences from social media) so it is dangerous to lower the age limit further as that surely increases the risk that people will regret making the decision to change their sex. There has been a great increase in young people referred for gender dysphoria recently, and many others who claim to be transgender without experiencing gender dysphoria.
It is also illogical to allow under-18s to legally change their gender, when they are considered to be too immature to buy alcohol or tobacco, get a tattoo or vote!
Are legal reforms needed to better support the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people?
Scientifically, we are either male or female. There would be tremendous difficulties in trying to accommodate a third category, as so much of our society is based on the biological reality of two sexes. If you allow 3 why not allow 33?