Response to Welsh Government Announcement

8th July 2019

The Wales Equality Alliance (WEA) welcomes the statement made today by Welsh Government in support of the advance of trans rights. The statement, published by Jane Hutt, Minister for Equalities, and Jeremy Miles, Counsel General in Welsh Government, endorsed trans rights and expressed disappointment in the UK Government’s approach to the consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). Proposals for reform involved allowing trans people to change the gender on their birth certificate without the need to go through a complex, costly and medicalised process. The Ministers confirmed that the Welsh Government "…believe trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. We restate our support for trans people’s right to self-identification."

The statement follows a meeting hosted by Stonewall Cymru that allowed trans rights groups across Wales, including WEA, to express their concerns and the needs of their communities directly to Ministers. The meeting was called following a leaked report of the UK Government's response to the consultation on the reform of the GRA. The report suggested that, far from enhancing trans rights in the UK, the Government was in-fact seeking to roll back existing rights on access to single sex spaces. The report also revealed the government’s intention to attack trans healthcare for under 18s.

We are very happy that the Ministers agreed with us that a clear statement of support was needed in advance of the UK Government's publication of the GRA response. It is also an encouraging sign that they are listening to the needs of communities on the ground and recognise the significant distress and anxiety among trans people caused by the UK Government's failings. We thank Stonewall Cymru for ensuring that our voices are heard in the corridors of power. This is just the beginning as there is plenty more to do before trans people can participate fully in a society that values them, but as a starting point this is very positive.

We look forward to working with communities across Wales to inform the forthcoming Transgender Action Plan for Wales, and working with local government to ensure the Welsh Government message is reflected in local services for all communities in Wales.

The full text of the Welsh Government statement can be read here.

Background information:  The Wales Equality Alliance was established by activists and concerned transgender patients in Wales in 2018. Its aims are to advance transgender equality in all areas including ensuring equality of health care provision for transgender patients. It has both a watching and campaigning brief. On health issues, the Alliance has met with Vaughan Gething, the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Care, and with the Cardiff and Vale UHB. The Alliance is supported by academics, key figures in Welsh politics and concerned members of the public.

Twitter: @Wales4Equality