Written evidence submitted by Mx Danni Thompson [GRA1934]

 

 

Will the Government’s proposed changes meet its aim of making the process “kinder and more straight forward”?

-          No. The changes do nothing to make the process kinder. It is the same process, only placed online and for slightly cheaper. Marginally more straight forward as people can perform the process online but regardless it is still a complicated process requiring a huge amount of evidence

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. It is unreasonable to require people to pay money to be recognised legally as the gender they are. If several medical professionals have by that point agreed that indeed this person is the gender they day they are, enough to provide this person with surgery, how could they be considered not to be that gender. At which point it should be the duty of the state to ensure that person is recognised as the right gender, not force that person to pay for that human right. There are several costs that could be removed to make access to care and recognised status. Deed Poll costs, travel costs to a gender identity clinic for a large amount of care that could be GP led (e.g. hormone prescriptions). These medical services should be more accessible

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

-          Absolutely. Being transgender is not directly linked to gender dysphoria, and many people will live in their correct gender for years without this formal medical diagnosis. A medical condition should not be a pre-requisite to a personal legal matter.

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

-          Yes two years is a significant amount of time. Most trans people will be affirmed in their social role after 12 months

What is your view of the statutory declaration and should any changes have been made to it?

-          Get rid of it. It is an unnecessary added expense to an already expensive process.

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 absolutely needs removing. It is dehumanising and so open to abuse to require a person’s spouse to consent. I don’t think anything is needed for the spouse’s rights.  They chose to marry the person, the person is not leaving.

Should the age limit at which people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) be lowered?

-          Yes. I believe it should be lowered to 16 and an option available for those under 16 with parental / guardian consent.

What impact will these proposed changes have on those people applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, and on trans people more generally?

-          The changes will theoretically help people currently in the process by allowing access online. More generally they will have little impact as they are very small changes. People who cannot or do not want to engage in the process because of its length, difficulty, amount of evidence required, and invasive nature, still face the same problems. They just get to face them on a pc screen instead of a piece of paper. Their legal recognition to their right gender still sits in the hands of a panel of people who have never even me the person in question.

What else should the Government have included in its proposals, if anything?

-          Provisions for people to self identify their gender

-          Any acknowledgement and movement to secure the legal rights of people with non-binary genders

-          Clarity over what the new fees would be

-          A commitment to reduce some the steps and evidence required for a GRC. The amount of proof required is unnecessary.

Does the Scottish Government’s proposed Bill offer a more suitable alternative to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004?

-          Yes

 

 

Wider issues concerning transgender equality and current legislation:

 

Why is the number of people applying for GRCs so low compared to the number of people identifying as transgender?

-          The process is expensive, protracted, invasive, and incredibly stressful. These are all significant barriers to the process so many trans people will instead live in their correct gender entirely socially, but still not have legal recognition because the process is too difficult for them to perform

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.

-          Yes the language in the GRA act is outdated as to current common use, and the Equality Act states that people can not be discriminated on on the basis of gender. However trans people are discriminated against in regards to gender as no cis person has to go to the same lever of proof. They just got a Dr to call it when they came out.

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?

-          Seems pretty clear to me. This is a space only for women. Trans women are women so seems fine.

Does the Equality Act adequately protect trans people? If not, what reforms, if any, are needed

-          It adequately protects trans people who have successfully achieved a GRC and therefore recognised as the correct gender, legally. The quality act does help trans people, but it needs to go further. It could more explicitly protect the rights of trans people to not be discriminated against even if their legal gender does not match the gender they live as. The act could also extend to more explicitly encase non-binary genders and begin to give legal protection to those people.

What issues do trans people have in accessing support services, including health and social care services, domestic violence and sexual violence services?

-          Ultimately regardless of policy the access to services always comes to personal implementing those services in the local area. Access to the service for a trans person will often depend on these people’s opinions. If they decide, for example, that a trans woman is not a woman (even if this hypothetical person may have been living in as a women for years at this point) and deny those gendered support services to her on that basis. If she has not been able to go through the difficult and lengthy process to have her legal gender change, then legally she has no recourse. Legally she is a Male and can therefore be excluded for services meant for F. So even if she may have been traumitesed at the hands of a man and need domestic violence support from other women, she will be denied it.

Are legal reforms needed to better support the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people? If so, how?

-          Yes. Of Course! Our genders don’t even exist in UK law currently. We must have a M or F passport, neither of which is correct. In every aspect of civil life we have to pick male or female. GRC’s also are only either M or F. Our right to live as our gender is hugely compromised. Legally our gender doesn’t exist so how could w possibly not need reforms to address this.

November 2020