Written evidence submitted by Ms Bailey [GRA1935]
I write to you as a cis (ie, non-transgendered) person who has studied and worked alongside various trans people over my life, and who has seen that their experiences interacting with the current provision for trans healthcare are currently inadequate compared to the good and useful work our healthcare system provides elsewhere.
I am sure you will have responses from many trans people who interact with these systems directly and can speak in more specifics, but I wanted to write a short note to say that as an outside observer, I think the way these services are currently provided are letting trans people down. The proposed changes seem useful, but unlikely to make a significant difference: my understanding is that there’s plenty of studies showing that transgender folks are significantly financially disadvantaged, so is there a need to charge money for a gender recognition certificate at all?
To discuss the specific questions:
- 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?
Not having legal documents match the holder’s current name and gender can be a barrier to obtaining work. Removing this and other fees seems useful to help trans folks be part of the workforce.
- Should the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria be removed?
- Should there be changes to the requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years?
- No. This creates a catch-22 situations where individuals may be barred from normal parts of life because their legal documents to not match their gender expression (eg, international travel, applying for a new job for which you need legal paperwork, etc)
- What is your view of the statutory declaration and should any changes have been made to it?
- I do not have a view on this.
- 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 believe it should be removed.
- Should the age limit at which people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) be lowered?
- If people can enlist in the military at 16, I think they’re old enough to decide their own gender identity by then.
- What impact will these proposed changes have on those people applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, and on trans people more generally?
- They seem very slightly useful to people seeking legal/medical transition, but they do not seem substantiative enough to fix significantly underresourced services that are designed in a way that creates a significant barrier to trans folks getting medical support.
- What else should the Government have included in its proposals, if anything?
- This does not seem to designed in a way that acknowledges the existence of non-binary trans people. I would defer to those people on what specific provision they would want.
- Does the Scottish Government’s proposed Bill offer a more suitable alternative to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004?
- Looking this up I found out that that bill suggests the requirement that the applicant to live as their chosen gender openly for three months rather than two years. This seems preferable since I know my workplace’s HR organisation has found it useful in understanding how to accomodate trans people for those employees to have access to legal documents which state their gender correctly
- Why is the number of people applying for GRCs so low compared to the number of people identifying as transgender?
- Because the burden of proof and the financial barrier to entry are significant disincentives to apply.
- Are legal reforms needed to better support the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people? If so, how?
- It does not seem like there is consistent support for recognition of non-binary genders in UK legal documents.