Theresa May has said that her government is reviewing the Gender Recognition Act to make it work better for trans people.
Speaking exclusively in a PinkNews General Election Q&A published today, Mrs May said that the process to change gender should move away from medical checks.
The Gender Recognition Act currently allows people with gender dysphoria to get a new birth certificate, but the process is complex and bureaucratic.
Individuals, who must have transitioned at least two years earlier, present their evidence to a Gender Recognition Panel, who, after considering the case, may issue a Gender Recognition Certificate.
“We are currently reviewing the Act to take account of the issues that have been raised about how it operates,” Mrs May said of possible changes to the 2004 legislation.
“I know that for some trans people, the legal process to change their gender can be distressing, so changes do need to be made.
“We’re looking to move away from the current focus on medical checks towards a system that works better for trans people.”
Also in the PinkNews Q&A, Mrs May was asked about the possible introduction of Gender X passports, as used in Australia and New Zealand, to cater to individuals who do not identify as male or female.
The Prime Minister said: “As part of our Transgender Action Plan we are conducting a review of gender requirements on government forms and paperwork, because I know this is a concern for trans people and those with different gender identities
“Legally recognising a new third category is a broader issue than just changing passports, and that needs to be properly considered across government before we propose any changes.”
In response to Mrs May’s comments, Bex Stinson, Head of Trans Inclusion at Stonewall, told PinkNews: “Vision For Change, a five-year plan created for and by trans people, will underpin our work to help create full equality for trans people.
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“We will look for the next UK government to achieve these goals and adopt the plan’s recommendations, to ensure all trans people are free to live as their authentic selves without discrimination or legal barriers.”
Asked about the lack of Conservative Party trans candidates, Mrs May said: “It’s great that we have trans members who want to stand.
“I commend the LGBT+ Conservatives group for its work in encouraging and supporting all our LGBT candidates.
“In recent years we’ve made great progress in selecting a more diverse range of candidates – which is something I’ve been personally championing since I was Chairman of the Party 15 years ago.
“It’s the reason I helped set up Women2Win in 2005 and have supported other initiatives to broaden our pool of potential candidates.
“At the last General Election we had the most out LGBT candidates of any party, and at this election we’ve selected some excellent new ones too. So I’ve no doubt we will see transgender candidates selected in future.”
Also in the Q&A, the Prime Minister addressed several other important LGBT issues.
Mrs May answered PinkNews readers’ questions on the urgent situation in Chechnya, same-sex marriage and the law in Northern Ireland, IVF for gay male couples, the availability of PrEP on the NHS for gay men in England