Dear Thangam Debbonaire MP,
Please speak at the Westminster Hall Debate on the petition to Reform the Gender Recognition Act.As your constituent, I am asking you to speak up in favour of reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 at the upcoming Westminster Hall Debate on Monday 21 February at 4:30pm.
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 enables trans people to change their legal gender (from female to male, or male to female) by applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). GRCs are required for trans people to have their correct gender recorded on birth and death certificates, certain pension and insurance policies, and to protect their privacy and safety by not requiring their trans status be revealed in various situations such as applying for a job or university or college course.
As it stands, the Gender Recognition Act subjects trans people to a process which is needlessly lengthy, intrusive and stigmatising. For example, obtaining legal gender recognition requires that an individual be medically diagnosed with ‘gender dysphoria’.
But while the Government promised reform and held a public consultation in 2018 that found clear majorities in favour of significant reform, there was no response until September 2020 to the consultation’s clear findings. And when the Government did respond, it only announced it would reduce the fee and digitise the process – welcome first steps, but nowhere near the reform that is crucially needed.
The Women and Equalities Select Committee held an inquiry into the Reform of the Gender Recognition throughout 2021. The Inquiry Report, published on 21 December 2021, concluded there had been “a lack of any real change to the gender recognition process”. The report made a number of key recommendations:
- Immediately remove from the gender recognition process the requirement to live in the ‘acquired gender’ for a set period of time.
- Remove the diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’ from the Gender Recognition Act by 2023.
- Remove the spousal consent provision in favour of a new approach where a full GRC can be issued at the same time as an annulment.
The Women and Equalities Select Committee recommended that the Government should bring back an action plan for reform within 12 weeks of publication of the report.
A straightforward system of legal gender recognition based on the principle of self-determination is already in operation in the Republic of Ireland by virtue of the Gender Recognition Act 2015. And in Scotland, following two public consultations that found similar majorities in favour of reform, the Scottish Government will be introducing a Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill in Spring 2022.
I am asking you to attend the Westminster Hall Debate on ‘Reform the Gender Recognition Act’ on Monday 21 February at 4:30pm, to speak up for trans communities and enable a fairer, shorter and non-stigmatising process of legal gender recognition.
Stonewall have produced a briefing in preparation for the debate, which you can find here. If you would like to contact them directly, you can email the Head of Policy at email@example.com.
If you cannot attend the debate, would you please write a supportive tweet on the day of the debate showing your support. You could write: “I support the findings of the @CommonsWomEqu report into legal gender recognition. The Government should reform the GRA and make the process less stigmatising, intrusive and medicalised for trans people. #ComeOutforTransEquality”
Thank you for getting in touch and for sharing your views with me about reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA).
I appreciate your concerns about this issue and it’s useful for me to have your perspective. I can assure you that I will continue to listen to the challenges facing the trans community. Trans people, who face persistent discrimination in society, must be able to live their lives with equality, dignity and respect.
I’m grateful to you for taking the time to email me; it’s useful for me to have your perspective and I can assure you that it helps to inform my work on your behalf. I am compiling all the feedback I get from constituents to inform my work as your Bristol West MP and as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.
Please let me know if you have any further concerns or feedback.