David Cameron, stop insulting trans people!

I’ve always been conflicted about online petitions as it is often difficult to see the actual, real world effect they have. Grass roots community organising is a good thing in my mind though, so I inevitably end up taking part in the clicktivism so often derided by the more cynical part of my psyche. I was therefore surprised to see a mail in my inbox earlier, a few weeks ago I had signed and promptly forgotten a petition asking that the government allowed trans people to self define their legal gender, and there has been a response from David Cameron and Her Majesties Government!

Here is my response to their response:

Government responded:

The gender recognition process in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 was developed as a result of the Government’s commitment to allowing trans people to gain legal recognition in their acquired gender.

The GRA is widely accepted as very flawed, even back in 2004. I know you’re running a Parliamentary Inquiry into trans* equality right now and that’s good but until you show something more concrete, I will continue to judge you based on how shockingly badly you have treated gender variant people in the past. Please do more to show your commitment.

The Gender Recognition Process

The general procedural requirements for gaining gender recognition were developed as a result of the Government’s commitment to allowing trans people who have taken decisive steps to live fully and permanently in the acquired gender to gain legal recognition in that gender, by establishing a robust and credible process to determine applications for recognition. The provisions are contained the in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA).

A person’s gender has important legal and social consequences. The state has a legitimate interest in ensuring that people who take on a new legal status can establish that they meet certain criteria. The required statements and evidence are limited to what is necessary to establish that an applicant meets the criteria for recognition.

I can understand this, you need to be sure that a person’s intent is not for nefarious means, but these “general procedural requirements” have real and serious consequences, one example is what is known as spousal veto. The process to determine these requirements is fundamentally flawed, a panel of cisgender overlords get to decide if a trans person is allowed to be recognised as an actual person.

There are no requirements for a trans person to apply for legal recognition; it is entirely a personal decision. Many trans people live and work in their acquired gender without feeling it necessary to apply for legal recognition. However, an application for gender recognition should only be made where a person has made a permanent decision to change their gender.

But if you don’t have this magical piece of paper you are not fully protected under the GRA. (2004) Somebody could have lived and worked for 50 years in their true gender, yet because they don’t wish to jump through whatever hoops the government deigns necessary, they will be less equal than everybody else.

The Gender Recognition Panel, a judicial body, determines all applications for gender recognition and an applicant must prove to the satisfaction of the Panel that they meet all the requirements set out in the GRA. The requirements for applicants going via the standard route are that the applicant:

– has or has had gender dysphoria;
– has lived in the acquired gender throughout the two years immediately preceding the date on which the application is made;
– intends to continue to live in the acquired gender until death.

Applicants must also provide medical reports, from:
– a qualified medical professional who works in the field of gender dysphoria giving details of their diagnosis of gender dysphoria; and
– a GP or surgeon, detailing any surgery or treatment that the applicant has undergone to change their sexual characteristics.

In addition, applicants must provide documentary evidence in the form of:
– an original or certified copy of the birth certificate;
– an official change of name document or documents;
– documentary proof the applicant has lived in their acquired gender throughout the preceding two years.

If the Panel is satisfied that the applicant meets all the conditions in the GRA they must issue the applicant with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Erm, about this “panel” … Have you ever seen The Shawshank Redemption? That scene where Morgan Freeman stands in front of the parole board is the closest thing I can imagine when I think of a Gender Recognition Panel. A bunch of cisgender people get together and decide if a trans person is broken/cool enough to be allowed to join their club. Perhaps it would be beneficial that you directly include some people who have some actual, real lived experience in this process, no?

Fees

It is quite normal for people to pay for a whole range of services, for example, passports, birth and marriage certificates, drivers’ licences, applications to the civil courts for a variety of issues. Given the cost involved in administering the gender recognition process, applications for gender recognition also carry a fee.

At present, the application fee stands at £140. So as to ensure that nobody is excluded from gaining legal recognition in their acquired gender, remissions and part remissions are available to those who are unable to pay the full fee. Traditionally a large percentage of applicants have been exempt from paying a fee.

PAY US MONEY AND YOU TOO CAN BE PROTECTED UNDER LAW! Just call 0845-ITSA-SCAM. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor, at least give us some money. We’ll even make the financial remission forms so complicated that some trans people (especially ones with disabilities) don’t understand them! It is beyond me why I have to keep repeating this, WE DO NOT CHOOSE TO BE TRANS. If cancer patients had to pay £140 to be protected from losing their job because they have to go for hospital appointments, there would be protests at Downing Street, Stop treating trans people like second class citizens.

Gender Identity Clinics

Current service provision in England is network-based, shaped around seven adult gender identity clinics, three providers of adult genital reconstruction surgery and one designated provider of gender identity development services for children, adolescents and young people.

Each gender identity clinic delivers services in compliance with contemporary, generic service standards for their discipline that respect the specific needs, values and dignity of transgender people.

The most up to date statistics for trans people point to 1% of the population who are gender variant, and you think that this is acceptable? There has been a 50% year on year increase in referrals for adult gender identity services and an 80% year on year increase for under-18’s yet you are cutting funding to the NHS, refusing to allow travelling satellite gender clinics and you have failed to employ enough medical and clerical professionals to cope with the increase. People are killing themselves because of your failure to act.

In England, people accessing gender identity services have a legal right under the NHS Constitution to be seen within 18 weeks of referral.

Ok, let’s talk about our so-called legal rights. I waited 18 months, 78.2 weeks. These days my friends tell me the wait is similar. Right now it takes roughly 5 years from referral to surgery, if you are lucky. You know this because we have been telling you for years. Stop fobbing us off, stop deliberately misleading people, we are not stupid. The current attempted suicide rate is 48%. David Cameron, how much higher does this have to climb before you do something?

Non-binary Gender

Non-binary gender is not recognised in UK law. Under the law of the United Kingdom, individuals are considered by the state to be of the gender that is registered on their birth certificate, either male or female.

Under the Gender Recognition Act, the Gender Recognitions Panel is only able to grant a certificate to enable the applicant to become either male or female. The Panel has no power to issue a certificate indicating a non-binary gender.

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination if it arises from their being perceived as either male or female. We recognise that a very small number of people consider themselves to be of neither gender. We are not aware that that results in any specific detriment, and it is not Government policy to identify such people for the purpose of issuing non-gender-specific official documents.

Ministry of Justice

A very small number? Well here is another example of how out of touch the UK government is with reality. It is scientifically proven that gender is a spectrum, you need to educate yourself about the people over whom you rule. Some people are different to the black and white spectrum you have been exposed to your whole life, there is a wonderful grey area where some people don’t identify with any gender, or may describe themselves as fluid. Under the governments rules, these people are not as equal as you are. Please do something to show you actually care about people who are different.

20 thoughts on “David Cameron, stop insulting trans people!

      • you see its articles like this that gives the trans community a bad name. this article most definitely does not speak for me, and nor does it contain the views of the majority, if not all of my trans family/friends.

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  2. The automated reply to my signature was crass, insensitive and poorly timed. Crass in that it simply forwarded the existing legislation, as if to say, 'F off, this is how it is – get over it.' Insensitive in that there was no courtesy thanks, no bland message. Poorly timed when Maria Millar's Committee is taking evidence – and I have had my input via the Women and Equalities Department – and just as other nations have just legislated self-election ( as long as you're binary…..), so by-passing all the usual gatekeepers. Unacceptable.

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