Response to Gender Recognition Act reform proposals

Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, Sarah Champion MP, and LGBT Labour welcome the Government’s decision to unite with Labour to allow self-declaration for a Gender Recognition Certificate. However, LGBT Labour’s Trans Officer, Dr Heather Peto warned that the Tory-DUP deal could mean trans and non-binary people in Northern Ireland may not enjoy the same rights as those in mainland Britain or Ireland.

Labour’s 2017 Manifesto committed to implementing the Women and Equalities Select Committee Trans Report.  On 18 July 2017 the Labour Leader, Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP, offered Labour’s parliamentary support to a cross party Bill.  Mr Corbyn told a Pink News Reception at Speakers House that discrimination of trans and non-binary people has gone on too long.

“The Gender Recognition Act does not allow trans people to self-identify their gender and forces them to undergo invasive medical tests. This is wrong.” He told Mrs May to “Bring forward a Bill to update the Gender Recognition Act and improve trans rights and Labour will back you.”

Justine Greening MP responded by announcing this weekend that the Government would published a Bill in the Autumn.

Sarah Champion MP said "I am relieved the Government are finally doing the right thing and updating the law to better support trans and non-binary people.

"The level of discrimination, abuse and intimidation trans gender people face, especially young trans, is totally unacceptable. I am optimistic that by changing legislation we can start to change attitudes and create a safe culture where everyone is respected."

However, Dr Peto, LGBT Labour’s Trans Officer and candidate for Rutland and Melton in the General Election sounded a note of caution. “The government have not said whether they will extend self-declaration to Northern Ireland.  Because of the Tory-DUP deal we might have an absurd situation where trans people can change their gender in Ireland and mainland Britain through self-declaration but not in Northern Ireland.”

Dr Peto dismissed comments made by Andrew Marr that people like him might simply declare they are a woman and retire early with a State Pension. “It was a baseless point, the Bill contains a safeguard of a statutory declaration and to make a false declaration is an offense. There has been no example of a similar Act in Ireland being misused.”

LGBT Labour are also committed to bringing in the right to declare as non-binary, and include a non-binary category in government forms and passports similar to that used in Australia where a person can declare their gender as X.