Earl suggests daughter change gender to inherit his title
The Fifth Earl of Balfour has proposed that his daughter could identify as male after his death to inherit his peerage.
Traditionally, the British aristocracy sees male firstborns inherit titles and stately homes.
But Balfour sees suggested gender recognition law changes, which would allow a person to self-declare their chosen gender, as grounds to challenge this rule.
As the law stands, the Balfour title is set to pass to his lordship’s younger brother or nephew.
His four children are not in line to inherit because they are all female.
The Earl said: “As far as I can see, on the same day that I meet my maker one of my daughters could declare that there has always been a man screaming to get out of her female body.
“She could thus claim my hereditary title as a son.”
His eldest daughter, Lady Willa Franks, will currently not be allowed to become a Countess.
“Surely the time has come when we can nominate which child we want to be our successor, regardless of their current, past or future gender,” Lord Balfour, 68, wrote in his letter to The Times.
He is campaigning for a change in the law, having voiced his frustration with Parliament’s quick change of royal succession laws, compared to the little progress made for members of the nobility.
The Earl’s letter follows proposed amendments to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, which would allow transgender individuals to transition without medical evidence or proof.
This act is traditionally used by trans people, not those seeking hereditary titles.
Reactions to the Earl’s letter were varied.
One person wrote that the Earl’s proposals are a “gross misuse of this procedure and makes a mockery of genuine transgender people.”
But another said: “Actually I think your missing the #LordBalfour underlying reasoning for his argument.
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“He just wants his daughter to be recognised as his heir & that his title can pass to her & not his brother.
“The Royal family accession has been changed but this has not filtered down to others.”
And another person wrote simply: “Titles should be gender free.”