STATEMENT: THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO THE GENDER RECOGNITION ACT (2004) CONSULTATION

Sparkle – The National Transgender Charity joins our community in its despondency and dismay following this week’s announcement by Liz Truss, the current Minister for Women and Equalities, regarding the recent consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act (2004), the legislation which allows trans people to be recognised as their authentic selves.


The consultation received approximately 108,000 responses, and despite overwhelming support for removing the need for a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria, an invasive and dehumanising medical report detailing all treatment, and the requirement to provide evidence of living “in role” for a period of time, the British Government has decided to retain these preconditions in order for trans people to receive legal recognition.


The rights of young trans people under the age of 18 and those with non-binary, agender and intersex identities will continue to be ignored. Spouses can continue to prevent their partner from being awarded a Gender Recognition Certificate by refusing to sign a statutory declaration of consent, although85% of respondents to the consultation were in favour of removing this discriminatory and demeaning requirement of consent.


The Government has promised to reduce the cost of attaining a Gender Recognition Certificate and simplify the application process by moving it online, but this is hardly compensation after a three-year period of persecution by a transphobic mainstream media, and bigoted groups and individuals both online and offline. Incidences of transphobic hate crimes and violence have increased exponentially, and the collective mental wellbeing and morale of our already marginalised community is now dangerously low.


This decision by the Government flies in the face of responses to the consultation, recommendations by organisations such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and the cross-party Women and Equalities Select Committee, and support from the British Medical Association and across industry.Sparkle – The National Transgender Charity joins the condemnation of the Government’s decision from the Labour Party, the Welsh Government, Stonewall and the Conservative Party’s own MPs.


Our community may be tired and broken, but this is not the end of the struggle for meaningful and progressive reform of this anachronistic and unfit for purpose legislation. We will break down the barriers to equal healthcare, housing, employment and education. We will continue to fight for recognition and the rights of our non-binary siblings. If anything, the Government has galvanised our and our allies’ resolve to confront and call out discrimination, inequality and transphobia at every turn.


A petition demanding that Parliament has a fresh debateon reform of the Gender Recognition Act has now reached over 127,000 signatures – more responses than the Government’s consultation.


If you are as incensed by the Government’s response to the consultation as we are, and believe in equality for all trans and gender non-conforming people, you can sign the petition HERE: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/327108

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