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UK equalities minister Liz Truss ‘committed’ to reviewing gender recognition laws

Vic Parsons October 7, 2019

Britain's equalities minister Liz Truss (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Equalities minister Liz Truss is reportedly committed to reviewing the way trans people are treated by gender recognition laws, despite claims by the Mail on Sunday that the matter had been abandoned.

On October 6, the Mail on Sunday published a story alleging that plans to publish the results of a public consultation on reforming gender recognition laws had been “shelved”.

But a source close to the government’s plans refuted claims that the review of the Gender Recognition Act – which controls how trans people gain legal recognition of their gender – had been abandoned.

They said: “The secretary of state is committed to following through with the consultation in due course.”

A Government Equalities Office (GEO) spokesperson said: ‘The secretary of state has only recently taken on this brief and will be carefully considering all responses and the next steps. These will be announced in due course.”

Liz Truss has previously called for more “free speech” on trans issues.

A public consultation on potentially overhauling the GRA was launched by then-equalities minister Penny Mordaunt in Theresa May’s government in July 2018.

The consultation received more than 100,000 responses. The results were expected to be published earlier this summer, with Mordaunt saying at the PinkNews summer reception in July that she hoped to publish them before Theresa May stood down as prime minister.

However, they still hadn’t been made public by the time Boris Johnson became PM, and the government equalities office confirmed that plans to publish the results of the consultation had been delayed yet again.

Currently, trans people must prove they have lived in their gender for two years and have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, after which their application for a Gender Recognition Certificate is approved – or refused – by a panel of people who don’t meet them.

And legal gender recognition does not currently extend to non-binary people.

Reforming the GRA to allow trans people to self-determine their gender when applying for a GRC, without a medical diagnosis or the need to prove their lived gender, has been called for by Stonewall and other LGBT+ organisations.

In practice, most trans people self-identify their gender in their day-to-day lives, as a GRC is not required to access gendered spaces such as bathrooms or changing rooms.

But self-ID has become a cornerstone of the backlash against GRA reform from some anti-trans feminists.

More: gender recognition act, gender recognition laws, liz truss, penny mordaunt, Theresa May

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