It’s not often you get to change the law - but 14 years ago, a group of determined campaigners did just that when they secured the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
This law was groundbreaking, enabling trans people to gain legal recognition for the first time in Britain.
But this law is now outdated and needs reform. What used to be world-leading now falls behind countries, including Ireland and Norway, where trans people determine their own identity.
The Government knows this. That’s why they’ve launched a public consultation in England and Wales to determine how best the law on gender recognition should be reformed.
Until 19 October, the consultation will be open for organisations and individuals to help change the law once again.'
Until 19 October, the consultation will be open for organisations and individuals to help change the law once again. All of us have the opportunity to be involved. We need to ensure the Government hears the voices of those who are actually affected, and those who support them, so they can understand what needs to change to improve trans equality.
You don’t have to take to the streets or wave a banner. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home. You can fill in the consultation on your phone or on your laptop – wherever and whenever suits you. You can fill it in by yourself, or as part of a group. It takes less time than cooking dinner or watching an episode of your favourite reality TV show.
If you’ve ever done an online survey, this consultation is not so different. It’s long, but you don’t have to answer every question.
We’ve got an easy-to-use version of the consultation form with top tips to cut through the jargon. This highlights the key questions and explains the changes we believe are needed. To understand more about how Gender Recognition Act reform links to priorities for trans equality, take a look at A Vision For Change.
The most important thing in filling in the consultation is your own experience: how the law affects you, your friends or your family. In your own words.
The voices of trans people must, of course, be front and centre, but everyone who supports LGBT equality can add their voice. Because if we stand together, we are stronger.
We must not be complacent in defending and extending LGBT equality.'
Public pressure helped to bring in same-sex marriage. It also helped end the era of Section 28, a law that banned discussions of same-sex relationships in schools. But we must keep up the momentum. There is no guarantee that progress will continue – a quick glance across the Atlantic shows us that. We must not be complacent in defending and extending LGBT equality.
It’s crucial we show the strength of support for change. So, if you’re involved with an LGBT community group or are part of a staff LGBT network, please let everyone know about the consultation and get together to respond. If you’re unsure about answering questions, there’s loads of information to counter common myths and misconceptions in our truth about trans.
You don’t have to be an expert to come out for trans equality. You just need to be ready to speak up. We can all do that.