Written evidence submitted by Ms Helen Atherton [GRA2007]
Submission re GRA Consultation
Will proposals be kinder and more straightforward ?
- It is unclear to me why this should be an aim of the law.
- There was a large survey of transsexuals who have obtained a GRA who on the whole, found it a satisfactory process.
Reducing /removal of fee
- Reducing the fee should help remove some criticism of the process.
There should be no removal of the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria
- The GRA was introduced to deal with genuine transsexuals with gender dysphoria – there is no need to widen it to cover those who fall within the new “trans umbrella” – crossdressers, men with autogynephelia, or those not wishing to make any medical or presentational changes (proudly wearing their beards and office suits) whilst declaring themselves women.
- To remove this requirement would be “self – identification” by the back door.
Living in “acquired gender” for 2 years
- Whatever this really means, it should be kept. If someone is making a lifelong decision it is some proof that they are committed to their process
- No person who is in a marriage / civil partnership should be coerced by their partner’s changed gender status into a changed status contract. There are still people who actually take their marriage vows seriously, and the law must uphold the status of the contract they entered into by at least giving them an adequate time and process to divorce.
- Again, this is a life long decision. Teenagers change their minds about everything in their lives and changing gender should not be able to be used as a perceived escape from some unhappiness in their life. As people mature their outlook on life changes and many young people are now “detransitioning” - something which would be much more difficult to do if a GRA had been issued.
- If anything the age should be raised.
Impact on “Trans People”
- There is a major problem in the discussion – the law was clearly aimed at a very small group of gender dysphoric transsexuals. They will notice no difference.
- Whatever happens now the trans activists who have taken over Stonewall etc will not be satisfied – but their “trans umbrella” is so wide that it does not make sense. We have no clear sense as a society of just who we are talking about.
What should the government include in its proposals
- The GRA should be repealed. It was introduced because genuinely dysphoric people could not get married to persons of the same sex but to whom they identified as the opposite gender.
- Now that same sex marriage and civil partnerships are available under UK law there is no need for this law.
- The law is confused – It calls itself a “Gender Recognition Act” – but then purports to create the legal fiction of someone changing their legal sex.
- No one actually changes sex – it is determined at conception and will be the same, male or female until death and beyond. No amount of hormone therapy or surgery will alter this basic biological fact.
-So we are talking about “Gender Identity” and Presentation – and anyone can just do this by living how they wish and probably changing their name by deed poll.
Numbers applying are lower than those currently identifying because of social and social media contagion and also because many know that they are using living as the opposite sex as an escape fantasy and have no intention or need to feel that they must change their actual physical presentation.
Equality Act2010 - must be tightened up to make it ultra clear that separate provisions for female sports, single sex provision in prisons, safe houses for women (or men) and single sex wards and treatment in hospitals, single sex personal care for the disabled etc truly are single sex and do not include those who have adopted the gender identity opposite to that normally associated with their sex – with or without a GRC. Also important for some religious groups who are supposed to be protected under the EA.
This is not discrimination – it is basic safeguarding.
This means that the GRA must also be changed so that a GRC must be disclosed to employers who are providing any such services. It seems very odd that with so few trans people in society, there seem so many interested in providing personal care to their opposite sex.
Transsexual people have their specific protections under the Equality Act – as well as those relating to their, sex, age , disability, race etc – just like anyone else.
What needs to be examined is why anyone falling under the new “trans umbrella” has extra protection not afforded to women (females) under hate crime laws. People are ending up on police records for saying that transwomen are male – which they obviously are or they would not have a trans identity.
If this is to continue, then at least women must have a misogyny protection and men a misandry protection. Then it would become clear how stupid these laws are – and that they must only be used to identify the severity of actual crimes against a person and uncovered as evidence – not in effect “ pre recorded” from Twitter etc.
Further protections for gender fluid / non binary?
No – again they have all the rights we all have under the Equality Act.
The use of people’s feelings about their gender identity – whether it be trans, gender fluid, non - binary, cannot create good law because there is no objectivity in people telling you how they feel. The law must retain the one thing we all have as our basic difference – our bodily sex – as the principle marker for the protections 51% of the population needs for their protection.