Government urged to ‘deliver on promise’ of gender recognition law review

Nick Duffy July 6, 2017
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The government has been urged to keep to its promise to bring up to date the UK’s gender recognition laws.

The Gender Recognition Act, which was pioneering legislation when it was signed into law in 2004, has fallen behind best practise on trans issues internationally.

The law requires trans people to jump through a number of bearacratic hurdles before they gain legal recognition, and also provides no recognition for non-binary trans people or transgender youth.
Sarah Champion
The Women and Equalities Select Committee previously called for the law to be updated, following an inquiry into transgender issues.

Labour’s Sarah Champion raised the issue in the Commons today, while sporting a Pride in London badge.

She said: “The Minister will be aware of the levels of persecution, intolerance and hate crime towards transgender people.

“Therefore, can the Minister confirm if she has plans to develop a new transgender action plan in line with the previous response to the women and equalities committee and also to the Government plan to conduct a review of the Gender Recognition Act of 2004?”

Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening responded: “She raises an important point.

“We responded very constructively and positively to the Select Committee’s important report, and we are going to be getting on and reviewing the Gender Recognition Act.

“We’ve been very clear about that. That sits alongside a lot of other work that we will be doing to ensure that we take action on this.”

Ms Champion, who is Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, told PinkNews that the government needed to set down a timetable for the review.

She said: “Trans people continue to face the most serious forms of discrimination imaginable.

“The Government continues to offer vague commitments but there are no clear plan for a review – and no timetable for when the desperately needed reform will be finally undertaken.

“The Government are still making all the right noises but have been doing that for months.

“The time for talking is over. They must now show trans people that they will deliver on the promise to tackle these inequalities without delay.”

Prime Minister Theresa May previously promised action in a Q&A with PinkNews.

She said: “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.”

Elsewhere in Parliament today, the government was challenged over their deal with the anti-LGBT DUP.

Labour’s Paula Sherriff said: “DUP representatives have described homosexuality as repulsive, wrong, vile, immoral, offensive and obnoxious.

“Does the Minister agree that it is those hateful remarks themselves that are repulsive, wrong, vile, immoral, offensive and obnoxious and that they should have no place in our politics let alone in Government?

“The DUP once ran a campaign called, ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’. Is it not time to save Ulster from bigotry?”

Greening, who is gay, said the views were “absolutely not ones that I agree with or that are shared by this House”.

In a separate interview this morning, Greening had been harshly critical of the DUP.

More: Gay, justine greening, LGBT, Sarah Champion

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