The Guardian today published a piece from their editorial team about the UK’s Gender Recognition Act (GRA). The newspaper’s stance is essentially do nothing with the GRA and trans rights, and instead ‘pause for reflection’.
While The Guardian says it ‘supports trans equality and believes reform of the law could form part of this’, it also perpetuates harmful stereotypes about transgender people.
Namely, in the article, the editorial team acknowledges dangerous myths about the concerns of ‘male-bodied people’ and not recognizing trans women as real women.
Let’s get some background info
The GRA was first introduced in 2004. It legally recognized transgender people in the UK for the first time, and allowed them to change their birth certificate.
Many LGBTI organizations, however, now view the Act as generally outdated 14 years later. They considered the Act as it currently stands to be inaccessible and difficult for most people.
Under the GRA, trans people must meet a number of criteria.
First, they must be 18 or older, as well as receive a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a gender specialist and another doctor. They must also provide information about surgery and hormone treatments.
Finally, they have to prove they have lived ‘full time in their acquired gender for at least two years’ and pay £140 fee.
Following that, a panel can accept or reject their application for a Gender Recognition Certificate.
What’s happening now?
In order to potentially change and streamline the GRA, the government opened up a public consultation in July. It officially ends on Friday (19 October).
Since July, anyone has been able to submit their thoughts on the GRA and how to change it for the better.
Numerous people and organizations, including the Guardian, have called the consultation ‘toxic’.
‘The Guardian rejects the idea that one of these positions is the right one – and the other wrong,’ it writes. ‘While campaigners for trans rights are entitled to push for laws that they believe advance equality, feminists are entitled to question whether such changes could adversely affect other women.’
Its main argument comes from the fight for women’s rights, while excluding trans women from this narrative.
In a particularly revealing paragraph, the newspaper states: ‘Women’s oppression by men has a physical basis, and to deny the relevance of biology when considering sexual inequality is a mistake.
‘The struggle for women’s empowerment is ongoing. Reproductive freedoms are under threat and the #MeToo campaign faces a backlash. Women’s concerns about sharing dormitories or changing rooms with “male-bodied” people must be taken seriously. These are not just questions of safety but of dignity and fairness.’
This opinion gives credence to TERFS (trans-exclusionary radical feminists). It also lends support to the offensive ideas that trans women firstly, are not real women, and secondly, pose threats.