Consortium’s response to Government’s announcement on GRA reform

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After months of delay the Government have announced details of minimal administrative changes to improve the process for legal gender recognition of trans people in England and Wales. Less costly and bureaucratic processes in relation to obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate are of course welcome and create a small form of improvement. Read the Government’s response here.

However, Consortium and its Member organisations are disappointed that the Government have reneged from their responsibilities to implement positive and meaningful reforms—something that had been promised. Trans and non-binary people, from all backgrounds and identities, have been subjected to relentless attacks on their own identity and this is unacceptable. All trans and non-binary should feel dignity and respect just like others in society are afforded on a daily basis. The missed opportunities through today’s announcement means this simply won’t be the case.

The UK is once again at serious risk of moving further behind other more progressive countries in terms of Trans Equality. The UK is now clearly lagging behind other countries including Ireland, Denmark and Norway. The Republic of Ireland have had a de-medicalised, self-determination system for gender recognition since 2015 without any arguable repercussions. We have now missed our opportunity to reclaim our spot as the most LGBT-inclusive European country.

The Government has consistently boasted about achieving over 100,000 responses in its 2018 LGBT Survey, and how this is the largest government-level survey of its kind. More than 70% of respondents were in favour of positive reform yet the Government will only pursue minimal administrative changes. This is all at a time when trans people continue to face huge inequalities across all areas of life as highlighted through the together. campaign.

It is not only Trans+ and LGBT+ organisations calling on the Government for positive and transformative change. The British Medical Association has also called on the Government to permit trans people to be recognised for who they authentically are without a medical diagnosis.

Trans+ and LGBT+ organisations across the country have been united in trying to secure these positive reforms. Thousands of trans people in England and Wales have been let down and this has clearly made their lives much harder. We will continue to fight and stand #TogetherWithTrans for positive reforms.

The news of additional Gender Identity Clinics is sorely needed and welcome, and our hope is these are opened without delay. Waiting times for Gender Identity Services have grown considerably longer, adding further stresses.  Trans healthcare is an incredibly important area of need. However, this shouldn’t be seen as an and/or. Better healthcare, tackling hate crime, positive reforms of the GRA—they should go hand in hand and all be progressed.

Consortium and its Trans Organisations Network (TON) would like to thank everyone who has made their voices heard. We remain committed to working with our wider membership and ally organisations to better understand the impact of the Government’s decision on the GRA reforms, whilst maintaining work with the Government Equalities Office LGBT team to understand how this affects future policy direction and services provision for trans people.

We encourage everyone to join our #TogetherwithTrans campaign that has launched today. Over 50 LGBTQ+ organisations and allies have already joined together for the first time to change the way trans and non-binary lives are being represented in the UK. The www.togetherlgbt.com campaign hub offers everything you need to know about the together. partnership, and helps individuals and organisations wishing to declare their support.

We will stand firm with our Trans members in defending the human rights, dignity and safety of all in our communities as we stand #TogetherWithTrans.

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Author: Paul Roberts

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