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This is what Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron are promising trans voters

June 6, 2017

PinkNews Exclusive
The Gender Recognition Act will be reformed in the next parliament, the two people vying to be Prime Minister have told PinkNews.

Both Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May have now pledged to reform the act as part of their agenda for LGBT voters.

They join calls from smaller party leaders – except for UKIP – to update the 2004 law to improve the process for those who legally transition.

Theresa May, the current Prime Minister, told PinkNews: “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.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there is “a lot more we need to do to improve the lives of transgender people”.

He added: “I’m pleased in our manifesto pledges to reform the Gender Recognition Act and Equality Act to ensure they specifically protect gender identity.”

The landmark pledges mean that, if the parties keep their promises, the act will definitely be updated in the next parliament.

Paul Twocock, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research for Stonewall said: “We’re pleased to see these commitments to update the Gender Recognition Act.

“As stated in our manifesto priorities, the GRA is in urgent need of reform.

“Currently, the process for legal gender recognition requires a doctor’s diagnosis and submission of evidence.

“This is intrusive and demeaning and can cause those who are transitioning significant distress. It’s also a waste of NHS resources.

“It’s vital that the new government reforms the act as soon as possible, to improve the process for those who legally transition and take further steps to ensure that all trans people in Britain are equal in law.”

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron also gave the strongest calls yet for Gender X passports – saying it “absolutely makes sense to introduce” the option.

He told PinkNews: “The Liberal Democrats introduced a Transgender and Intersex Charter which calls for the phased removal of gender markers in all documentation unless it is absolutely necessary.

“We’re starting with our own documents and I’ll carry on campaigning in parliament to make government forms as gender neutral as possible too.”

The SNP manifesto also committs to reform of the Gender Recognition Act, though Nicola Sturgeon has not yet answered PinkNews readers’ questions.

This is what the party leaders have to say on trans rights.

Theresa May
Theresa May
Christie, from Basingstoke, asks: The UK’s Gender Recognition Act was considered one of the most advanced when it passed in 2004. Before you became Prime Minister, Nicky Morgan began to respond to the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s report on transgender issues, but since she left office, the government has been silent on the issue. Will you commit here and now to update the Gender Recognition Act to improve the lives of the many trans PinkNews readers across the UK?

TM: Yes, we are currently reviewing the Act to take account of the issues that have been raised about how it operates. 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.

David, from Hove, asks: A variety of countries offer Gender X passports for people who do not conform to binary gender identities. Will you commit the UK government to introducing these types of passport options? Would you consider the recommendations of the Women and Equalities Select Committee to make government forms and paperwork as gender neutral as possible?

TM: 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.

Read Theresa May’s answers in full.

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
Jake, from York, asks: Will you ensure protections for non-binary people by updating the Equality Act to include this minority group?

JC: I’m pleased that in Labour’s manifesto for government we have pledged to reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 to ensure they protect non-binary people. Central to this will be changing the protected characteristic of ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and removing outdated language such as ‘transsexual.’

David, from Hove, asks: A variety of countries offer Gender X passports for people who do not conform to binary gender identities. Will you commit the UK government to follow New Zealand and Australia in introducing these types of passport options? Would you consider the recommendations of the Women and Equalities Select Committee to make government forms and paperwork as gender neutral as possible?

JC: Recognition of trans and non-binary people continues to be an significant issue. People must be able to identify as they see themselves, without having binaries imposed upon them. People’s own self-identification must be respected by others. That’s why I’m pleased we committed in our manifesto that Labour in government will update legal protections for the trans community by rewriting the Equality Act and other laws to specifically protect gender identity. This will of course inform the mechanisms of government forms and documents to make them as gender neutral as possible.

Bryn, from Coventry, asks: The Gender Recognition Act 2004 was a landmark piece of legislation to improve the lives of trans people, but there is still much work to be done. Will Labour change the process of obtaining a gender recognition certificate so that it is based on self-declaration?

JC: There is a lot more we need to do to improve the lives of transgender people.

The Gender Recognition Act was an important step forward for trans equality, but 13 years on, we should consider how to make the legislation more relevant and responsive to the concerns of trans people. I’m pleased in our manifesto pledges to reform the Gender Recognition Act and Equality Act to ensure they specifically protect gender identity.

Read Jeremy Corbyn’s answers in full.

Tim Farron
Tim Farron
Sophia, from Durham, asks: Your manifesto pledges to overhaul the 2004 Gender Recognition Act “to allow individuals to change their legal gender without unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles”. Does this mean you will allow individuals to self-declare their gender?

TF: We want a streamlined simplification of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to allow individuals to change their legal gender at will. As a country, we have a long way to go on transgender rights to remove the ridiculous discrimination that is inherent in our systems and institutions. I am fully committed to campaigning on this.

David, from Hove, asks: A variety of countries offer Gender X passports for people who do not conform to binary gender identities. Will you push the UK government to introducing these types of passport options? Would you consider the recommendations of the Women and Equalities Select Committee to make government forms and paperwork as gender neutral as possible?

TF: I have been pushing for Gender X passports and will continue to do so. It absolutely makes sense to introduce them – other countries have and so should the UK. It is frankly ridiculous that the Tories have refused to act on something as straight forward as this.
The Liberal Democrats introduced a Transgender and Intersex Charter which calls for the phased removal of gender markers in all documentation unless it is absolutely necessary. We’re starting with our own documents and I’ll carry on campaigning in parliament to make government forms as gender neutral as possible too.

Christie, from Dagenham, asks: You have pledged in your manifesto to recognise people who “do not wish to identify as either male or female”. Does this mean, If the Lib Dems were to be elected into power again, would you amend the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and make marriage truly equal in the UK?

TF: We have committed in our manifesto to abolish remaining marriage inequalities. Passing the Equal Marriage Act was an amazing achievement but there is definitely more progress we can make. Particularly on transgender rights and removing the spousal veto. I am very keen to make this progress so that equal marriage really is equal.

Read Tim Farron’s answers in full.

You can also read the Green Party co-leader’s answers and Plaid Cymru leader’s answers. The SNP is yet to submit their answers.

More: 2017, act, Conservative, Gay, gender recognition act, general election, General Election 2017, Jeremy Corbyn, june 8, Labour, Law, LGBT, Prime Minister, Theresa May, tim farron, Trans

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