How To Make a Trans friendly GRA Response

12th October 2018

Be a first rate Trans ally and fill in the Gender Recognition Act consultation with these responses. There is very little time and we need your help. It looks daunting with lots of detailed questions, but we've given you some help so you can get through it quickly. (If you want to read the backgroud to any of the responses, download our trans equality recource kit here).

Go on! You can do it and tweet us at @Wales4Equality with the hash tag #IRespondedForTransEquality
(You only have until 19th October!)
Click here to submit your response to the GRA consultation using the suggested answers below.

Questions 1 & 2 - Leave blank unless you are Trans person who's applied or applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Question 3: Do you think there should be a requirement in the future for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria?
There is nothing pathological or unhealthy about a person having a gender identity that is different to the gender assigned at birth. The World Health Organisation no longer recognises "gender dysphoria" as a mental health condition. Trans and Non Binary people must be allowed to express their gender identity freely. They must also have the right to have their gender identity legally recognised without requiring a diagnosis of any kind from a medical professional or other party.

Question 4: Do you also think there should be a requirement for a report detailing treatment received?
As stated in the answer to question 3, the World Health Organisation no longer recognises "gender dysphoria" as a mental health condition. There is no necessary connection between gender re-assignment and the receipt of treatment. Although many Trans and some Non Binary people do seek medical intervention to assist in their gender re-assignment, some do not wish to have or need any treatment. Whether or not a person has received treatment has no affect on the validity of their gender identity.

Question 5: (A) Do you agree that an applicant should have to provide evidence that they have lived in their acquired gender for a period of time before applying?
No matter how flexible the criteria, there is a danger that a person could fail a test based on an examination of documents and not have their perfectly valid Trans or Non-Binary identity legally recognised. Not everyone that lives full time in their re-assigned gender has all the documents that would be required as evidence to prove this. A much better approach will be to have a legal and solemn process of self declaration with criminal sanctions attached if used fraudulently. From this, all other documents that would otherwise "prove" someone's identity, can be changed. This is more humane, simpler and has safeguards in place to deter frivolous use. It is a human right for a person to own, and be in control of, their gender identity and not have it given or awarded by a stranger after an intrusive and complex bureaucratic process with a fee attached.

leave 5 (B) (C) and (D) blank

Question 6: (A) Do you think this requirement should be retained, regardless of what other changes are made to the gender recognition system?
There should still be a solemn and legally binding declaration to formalise and make permanent a person's change of gender. This legally recognises a person's gender identity and stops the system being abused or used in bad faith. However, safeguards must be put in place to ensure that the existence of the declaration is not used to harass or disadvantage a person based on their gender expression.

Question 6 (B)

Yes Although "until death" should be understood as "indefinitely". Some people swear "until death do us part" when getting married but later get divorced. The key thing here is the solemn intent at the time of the declaration.

Question 6 (C) leave blank

Question 7: The Government is keen to understand more about the spousal consent provisions for married persons in the Gender Recognition Act. Do you agree with the current provisions? If No, please explain the reasons for your answer. If you think the provisions should change, how do you think they should be altered?
A spouse should have no control over a person's ability to formally change gender. Spouses can be abusive and coercive. Some divorces take many years to complete. It should not be a condition for a person to change gender that a person seek approval from their spouse or complete a divorce from a spouse who refuses approval.

Question 8: (A) Do you think the fee should be removed from the process of applying for legal gender recognition?
8 (B) - Leave blank
8 (C) What other financial costs do trans individuals face when applying for a gender recognition certificate and what is the impact of these costs?

Costs of obtaining supporting documentation for proof of living in acquired gender or being in receipt of treatment will become irrelevant as they should not be required. It should also be easy for someone to obtain a formal declaration without traveling long distances. Some parts of Wales are far from a court, for instance. A solicitor's office should be sufficient.

Question 9: Do you think the privacy and disclosure of information provisions in section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act are adequate?
More robust measures to protect Trans people from harassment by being outed and deadnamed (having their birth name revealed) should be put in place with stiffer sanctions for offenders and longer periods in which a complaint can be made after an unauthorised disclosure.

Questions 10 & 11.
By removing the requirement of presenting documentary evidence of treatment and of living in a person's acquired gender, barriers to obtaining a GRC due to someone's protected characteristic(s) will be largely removed. It is accepted by all reasonable people that a change in the process of applying for a GRC will not affect provisions in the Equality Act 2010 relating to protected characteristics.

Question 12: Do you think that the participation of trans people in sport, as governed by the Equality Act 2010, will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?

Exceptions allowed by the Equality Act 2010 are not affected by whether or not someone has a GRC.

Question 13: (A) Do you think that the operation of the single-sex and separate-sex service exceptions in relation to gender reassignment in the Equality Act 2010 will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?
There will be be no changes to the existing Equality Act 2010. Organisations such as Welsh Women's Aid already have trans inclusion policies and have been clear that these will not be affected by changes to the Gender Recognition Act.

Question 13: (B) Leave blank unless you are representing an organisation providing single or separate sex services.

Questions 14-18: There's a lot of stuff in these questions, but just answer
There will be no change to the Equality Act 2010.

Question 19: Do you think that changes to the Gender Recognition Act will impact on areas of law and public services other than the Equality Act 2010?

Public services generally have procedures and policies developed following the Transgender Equality Action Plan 2011

Question 20: Do you think that there need to be changes to the Gender Recognition Act to accommodate individuals who identify as non-binary?
Trans identities are valid and Non Binary identities are also valid. The ability for a Non Binary person to have their identity legally recognised must also be put in place if we are to achieve equality for all without exception.

21 What other changes do you think are necessary to the GRA in order to benefit intersex people?
21 (A) (B) Answer if you are intersex.
21 (C) Intersex people should be able to apply for a GRC without having to undergo invasive medical examinations

Question 22: Do you have any further comments about the Gender Recognition Act 2004?
The age limit for GRC applications must be 16 and not 18.  This is reasonable given that Gillick competency is set at age 16. A person should be able to be in possession of a GRC prior to age 18 so 18+ documents can be written correctly in the person's identity from the outset.

That's it. You've done it! you have just made a huge contribution to the advance of Trans equaliy. Thank you!


Twitter: @Wales4Equality