The UK Government consultation on the Gender Recognition Act closed on 19 October, after gathering testimonies for 16 weeks. Tens of thousands of people took the opportunity to improve trans rights by having a say on reforming the GRA.
Together, we showed that Stonewall supports a reformed Gender Recognition Act that:
- Requires no medical diagnosis or presentation of evidence for trans people to get their identity legally recognised
- Recognises non-binary identities
- Gives all trans people, including 16 – 17-year-olds, the right to self-determination, through a much simpler and more streamlined administrative process
Why we needed a consultation to reform the GRA
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) governs how trans people can have their identity legally recognised. This was groundbreaking in its time – it’s now seriously out of date and needs reform.
At the moment, trans people have to endure a long and demeaning process to ‘prove’ their gender identity. It’s not just distressing, it’s complex, costly and inaccessible to many trans people.
A consultation is a process for the Government to gather feedback on proposed changes to the law, whether changes to an existing law or introducing a new law. This is a really important way for the communities affected by any new laws to have a say, and make sure that the Government knows what they need. Consultations give the people who know best – you! – the chance to influence policy even before MPs get to debate a new law (or Bill) in Parliament.
When all the evidence has been gathered, the Government usually issues a response. They say how they’ve taken what’s been said in the responses into account, and what their next steps are going to be. Tens of thousands of you have responded to the consultation through our website. We are waiting to hear the Government’s response.
We hope that the voices of trans people are heard loud and clear.
The support everyone showed was a fantastic statement, but it doesn’t stop here. Opposing voices will be loud, spreading myths and misinformation. We need to make sure the voices calling for equality and respect win out. The campaign for trans equality is far from over.
The current process, under the GRA, means trans people have to go through a series of intrusive medical assessments and long, demeaning interviews with psychiatrists in order to ‘prove’ their gender identity. It requires trans people to have a formal diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’, to live in their ‘acquired gender’ for two years, and hand over evidence supporting all of this to a gender recognition panel (composed of clinicians who have never met the applicant) who have the power to approve, or deny, an application.
This recognition process is lengthy – and can take many years. The length of time and the number of professionals who need to be involved puts an unnecessary strain on our NHS. But more importantly, it means that trans people cannot determine their own personal identity.
People who are non-binary (they don’t identify as either male or female) don’t have any legal recognition at all under the current GRA. You also have to be 18 to get recognition of your gender identity under the current law.
In Scotland, gender recognition is a devolved matter. The Scottish Government has already held its own consultation.
Read common questions about trans people, their experiences and myths and misconceptions from the media.
How can I speak out for trans rights?
If we speak out together, we can continue to push for change, and not just in the law. Please sign up for updates so we can keep campaigning together for trans equality.