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Olly Alexander, Munroe Bergdorf & Jade Thirwall tell Boris Johnson to speed up GRA reform

Reiss Smith July 29, 2019
Olly Alexander, Munroe Bergdorf and Jade Thirwall

Olly Alexander, Munroe Bergdorf and Jade Thirwall are among more than 100 people who have signed a letter to Boris Johnson. (Getty)

More than 100 celebrities, activists and LGBT+ charities have signed an open letter to the new Prime Minster Boris Johnson, calling on him to press ahead with reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.

Olly Alexander, Munroe Bergdorf and Little Mix singer Jade Thirwall are among more than 100 signatories on the letter, along with representatives from charities including Mermaids, the Terrance Higgins Trust, Black Pride, Amnesty International UK and the LGBT Foundation.

Made public on Monday (July 29), the letter calls on Johnson and his new Minister for Women and Equalities Amber Rudd to “put words into action to address the discrimination, health inequalities, and legal barriers still affecting the lives of LGBT people today.”

“Thousands of trans and non-binary people across the country still wait in limbo for the announcement of reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (2004) following the public consultation that took place last year,” the letter, seen by PinkNews, reads.

“The GRA was a ground-breaking piece of legislation when first introduced, but is now outdated and in urgent need of reform to ensure it’s fully accessible. As our new Prime Minister, you must ensure trans and non-binary people across the UK have the rights they need and deserve.”

UK falls behind on trans and non-binary rights

Pointing out that the UK is “lagging behind countries including Ireland, Denmark and Norway in terms of legal equality for trans and non-binary people,” the letter calls on Johnson to “help the UK reclaim our spot as the most LGBT-inclusive country in Europe while transforming the lives of trans and non-binary people.”

“You’ve stated your guiding principle is ‘who you love, who you are, how you choose to live should not and will not stand in your way,'” it continues.

“Unfortunately, the current GRA process stands in the way of many trans and non-binary people being fully accepted in law.”

According to recent government estimates, only 12 percent of trans people have secured a gender recognition certificate, despite 92 percent stating they would want one in the 2018 National LGBT Survey.

Campaigners are hopeful that the process of obtaining a certificate will be “streamlined and demedicalised,” as was promised by ex-Prime Minster Theresa May.

Gender Recognition Act reforms delayed

On July 4, the then-Women and Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt said that a response to the public consultation on Gender Recognition Act reform would be announced “as soon as possible.”

But on July 24, the day that Johnson became prime minister, the Government Equality Office told PinkNews that the results of the consultation had been delayed.

With parliament now in recess, there will be no announcement until September at the very earliest.

Paul Martin, chief executive of LGBT Foundation, has accused the government of kicking reforms into the long grass.

“We have come together – as charities, campaigners, activists and spokespeople to reiterate how critical these reforms are to removing the barriers that trans and non-binary people face every day,” he said in a statement.

“Right now, as hate crime against trans people is increasing and vitally needed reforms risk being kicked into the long grass, there has never been a more crucial time to be an ally to trans and non-binary people.”

The letter follows a similar call to action co-signed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotheram and Sheffield Mayor Dan Jarvis.

More: gender recognition act, GRA Reform, jade thirwall, munroe bergdorf, Olly Alexander

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