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My response to the GRA consultation

Reform of the Gender Recognition Act

Questions 1 and 2 - Experiences of Trans Respondents

Question 1: If you are a trans person, have you previously applied, or are you currently applying, for a Gender Recognition Certificate?

No.

Question 2: If you are a trans person, please tell us what having Gender Recognition Certificate means, or would mean, to you.

It would allow my correct gender to be officially recognised by government institutions.

I could enter into marriage or civil partnership as my correct gender.

It also removes any discrepancy between government issued ID documents.

Questions 3 and 4 - Medical Reports

Question 3: Do you think there should be a requirement in the future for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria?

No.

Not everyone suffers from dysphoria to the same extent, and for those that do, their experiences are all massively different.

As single "diagnoses" can not reliably cover all scenarios that would lead someone to be transgender.

It's also very difficult to get across many years of life experience in an hour session with a doctor, not to forget those people with anxiety and other issues that mean they can not talk about their issues easily.

Question 4: Do you also think there should be a requirement for a report detailing treatment received?

No.

Not everyone is able to get and physical treatment, either due to social circumstances, financial, health reasons, or they may be comfortable enough without any and making other changes in their life.

People applying for a GRC long after transitioning may not have appropriate records of treatment.

Getting records from the GICs are notoriously difficult when you're a patient there, and even harder once you've "achieved outcome" and been discharged.

Question 5 - Evidence

Question 5: (A) Do you agree that an applicant should have to provide evidence that they have lived in their acquired gender for a period of time before applying?

Yes.

There should be a short period for the transgender person to ensure they're comfortable.

Many of us do not know beforehand if socially transitioning this is the right move, but it is confirmed afterwards.

This should not be designed as a deterrent against "the wrong reasons", but rather to ensure the person is comfortable with the change.

Question 5: (B) Do you think the current evidential options are appropriate, or could they be amended?

They could be widened. Not everyone receives bills in their name.

Reducing the number required will help based on the evidence given, for example a passport or driving licence (both government issued document), which already requires a deed poll or statuary declaration, should be proof enough.

Question 5: (C) What length of time should an applicant have to provide evidence for?

Six months or less.

Question 5: (D) Should there be a period of reflection between making the application and being awarded a Gender Recognition Certificate?

There should be an allowance for a GRC to be made earlier on and "held" until the evidential period has elapsed, instead of an outright refusal.

Question 6 - Statutory Declaration

Question 6: (A) Do you think the requirement that applicants must make a statutory declaration as part of the process should be retained, regardless of what other changes are made to the gender recognition system?

Yes.

There should be a legal declaration that this is the right move for the transgender person.

No one else should have a say in this.

Note that many transgender people may have already made a statutory declaration to update other government issued documents, which should be sufficient for the GRC too.

Question 6: (B) Do you think that the statutory declaration should state that the applicant intends to ‘live permanently in the acquired gender until death’?

No.

(Trying to account for people detransitioning or gender fluid people)

Question 7 - Spousal Consent

Question 7: The Government is keen to understand more about the spousal consent provisions for married persons in the Gender Recognition Act. Do you agree with the current provisions?

No.

No one else should have the say or to "agree" with the legal recognition of someone's gender.

The British government allows same sex marriage, and has recently had rulings for mixed sex civil partnerships.

Marriages and civil partnerships should transition seamlessly between them.

"Spousal veto" can also be used by aggrieved partners to get revenge or aggravate the transgender person, or they may not even be contactable.

Question 8 - The Cost of Legal Gender Recognition

Question 8: (A) Do you think the fee should be removed from the process of applying for legal gender recognition?

Yes.

Question 8: (C) What other financial costs do trans individuals face when applying for a gender recognition certificate and what is the impact of these costs?

There are costs involved in travelling to the GICs, changing documentation (passport and driving licences).

Transgender people are also very likely to be out of work, or receiving benefits for health reasons.

£140 is a significant amount of their allowance making any GRC prohibitive, leading to potentially further stigmatisation.

Question 9 - Privacy and Disclosure of Information (Section 22)

Question 9: Do you think the privacy and disclosure of information provisions in section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act are adequate?

As long as it is absolutely required that it be disclosed and will have a bearing.

The exceptions should not be an excuse to out someone.

Also, "does not know or believe that a full GRC has been issued" should not be an exception.

Even without a GRC, then this should be considered subject to the act as it can lead to just as much discrimination or hardship.

Questions 10 and 11 Impact of Legal Gender Recognition Process (Protected Characteristics)

Question 10: If you are someone who either has, or would want to undergo legal gender transition, and you have one or more of the protected characteristics, which protected characteristics apply to you? You may tick more than one box.

(Personal answer omitted)

Question 11: Is there anything you want to tell us about how the current process of applying for a GRC affects those who have a protected characteristic?

A trans person changing their gender marker should have no impact on anyone else.

As the intro says, it does not impact the Equality Act provisions and access to "protected spaces" in any way.

The only way a GRC may possibly impact a person other than the trans person in in a marriage where, as I stated in response to question 7, this should be handled seamlessly between same and opposite sex partnerships.

Question 12 - Impact on Sport (Equality Act)

Question 12: Do you think that the participation of trans people in sport, as governed by the Equality Act 2010, will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?

No.

The trans person's gender is unchanged by the GRA, and therefore it has no impact on their participation in sports.

As has been used elsewhere, there are other means to segregate based on levels of various hormones, weight classes, etc.

Question 13 - Impact on Single-sex and Separate-sex Service (Equality Act)

Question 13: (A) Do you think that the operation of the single-sex and separate-sex service exceptions in relation to gender reassignment in the Equality Act 2010 will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?

Again, the GRA does not change ones gender. People can still be excluded on a case by case basis.

There is no need to blanket exclude all trans people just because they are trans (at whatever stage of transition they're at).

Question 14 - Impact on Occupational Requirements (Equality Act)

Question 14: Do you think that the operation of the occupational requirement exception in relation to gender reassignment in the Equality Act 2010 will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?

No.

Question 15 - Impact on Communal Accommodation (Equality Act)

Question 15: Do you think that the operation of the communal accommodation exception in relation to gender reassignment in the Equality Act 2010 will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?

No.

Someone's gender is not impacted by the GRA.

Any exceptions should be risk assessed on a case by case basis, regardless of whether the people involved are trans or not.

Question 16 - Impact on the Armed Forces (Equality Act)

Question 16: Do you think that the operation of the armed forces exception as it relates to trans people in the Equality Act 2010 will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?

No.

The GRA does not change someone's gender or transgender status.

Furthermore, the very fact someone is trans does not in itself impact "combat effectiveness".

Question 17 - Impact on Authorising or Solemnising Marriages (Equality Act)

Question 17: Do you think that the operation of the marriage exception as it relates to trans people in the Equality Act 2010 will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?

No.

Someone's gender is not impacted by the GRA.

As for the exclusion, why should someone by denied a marriage just because they have a GRC?

Being able to marry in your correct gender is one of the few reasons we'd have to obtain a GRC.

Question 18 - Impact on Insurance Operation (Equality Act)

Question 18: Do you think that the operation of the insurance exception as it relates to trans people in the Equality Act 2010 will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?

No.

Someone's gender is not dependant upon having a GRC.

Question 19 - Impact on Other Public Services (beyond the Equality Act)

Question 19: Do you think that changes to the Gender Recognition Act will impact on areas of law and public services other than the Equality Act 2010?

Yes.

It means providers will have more accurate data determined by the individual rather than having to rely on the fact they've been able to apply for, and been approved for a GRC.

There should be a single reference to someone's gender which is changed as soon as they apply for a deed poll/statutory declaration, not have 2 differing government issued documents.

Question 20 - Non-binary Gender Identities

Question 20: Do you think that there need to be changes to the Gender Recognition Act to accommodate individuals who identify as non-binary?

Yes.

People should not have to be forced to lie about their gender to fit into one of the two boxes to get the relevant support, or access services.

They should be able to live their true lives, which will improve their mental health.

Question 21: Experiences of Intersex Respondents

Question 21: (A) Do you have a variation in your sex characteristics?

(Personal answer omitted)