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UK plots to scrap plans to allow trans people to self-identify

UK plots to scrap plans to allow trans people to self-identify

  • They will make life harder for trans women in particular and offer LGBT+ people a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ to placate them.
Sparkle trans festival in Manchester, England.

The UK government is scrapping plans to make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender by ‘self-identifying’ as male or female.

Moreover, they are pressing ahead with new rules that will make it harder for trans people to use public toilets and other facilities.

And they are apparently planning to offer a ban on dangerous and cruel ‘conversion therapy’ to placate LGBT+ people.

Those are the revelations that a government insider has leaked to the Sunday Times. But they confirm what many trans activists have warned for many weeks.

Now campaigners are hitting back saying the British public wants trans-supportive policies.

Meanwhile Iceland, Portugal, Malta, Norway, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland and Belgium have moved to self-ID for trans people without problems.

Further confirmation of UK government plot

GSN reported on the government’s new policy in April. We warned Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss had mounted an unprecedented attack on trans rights.

Speaking to the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Select Committee, Truss pledged to update Britain’s 2004 Gender Recognition Act this summer.

But she said she would ‘protect single sex spaces’. Moreover, she indicated she would withdraw medical support for teens going through gender dysphoria who wish to transition.

The comments on single sex spaces have made trans people fear a US-style ‘bathroom bill’. This could prevent trans Brits accessing public toilets, stores’ changing rooms, sports facilities and more. 

Trans campaigners have said this will seriously limit their ability to live a normal life. It will make it harder for them to work or to do day-to-day activities like shopping or socialising.

Now, if the Sunday Times is right, that ban is going ahead and will cover single-sex facilities including toilets and refuges.

Moreover Prime Minister Boris Johnson is apparently planning to scrap plans to modernise the Gender Recognition Act.

It reverses plans that his predecessor Theresa May put forward the policy of allowing trans people to self-identify.

Instead the Sunday Times say ministers will announce a ban on ‘gay cure’ therapies in July to ‘placate’ LGBT+ people.

However the ban the government is proposing may fall short. As GSN previously reported, Truss has already promised a ban.

But it is not clear if it will have exemptions for faith groups. Moreover, it may not have legal force, unlike other bans elsewhere in the world.

Meanwhile Truss has not yet said if it will protect trans people from the dangerous and discredited cures. So far, her wording just mentions sexual orientation, not gender identity.

Trans people ‘terrified’ by government plans

As GSN reported on 4 June, many trans people are ‘terrified’ of the government’s plans and increasing transphobia in the UK and are planning to flee the country.

Last week also a huge public argument over trans rights, after Harry Potter author JK Rowling made transphobic comments.

Now trans campaigners are responding to the government’s new potential threat.

In an open letter to her MP, trans politician Helen Belcher warned the government’s plan would make life harder for every woman in the UK.

She said: ‘While everyone needs safe spaces, the government seems to be proposing that only those with appropriate genitalia can use women’s facilities.

‘How would this be policed? How would my wife, my daughter or I prove our right to use the ladies loo? Who do we prove it to, and at what cost? Why does this proposal single out trans women for exceptional treatment if the problem is men?’

Meanwhile Rob Cookson, deputy chief executive of LGBT Foundation, said:

‘We are deeply concerned by media reports today which appear to confirm the

Government’s intention to drop the long awaited reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.

‘This is despite 70% of reported responses to the government’s own consultation showing support for reforms.

‘Reform is long overdue and there is a real risk of further rollbacks to hard-won LGBT rights if these media reports are true.’

‘Public support for trans people was clear.’

Meanwhile trans youth charity Mermaids has given the most detailed response so far.

In it, they also mention the claims that 70% of the public who responded to the government’s consultation support trans self-identification.

Mermaids explains the current system means people who transition have to ‘pay £140, gain accreditation from two separate medical experts, provide proof of living in their true gender for a solid two years and offer ultimate judgement of their identity to a panel they never personally meet.’

And they add: ‘Public support for trans people was clear.’

Instead, Mermaids suggest the government is listening to a ‘small but vocal group of activists’ who ‘appear determined to tell trans and cisgender women who they are and what they think’.

Mermaids says: ‘They seek to characterise transgender women as a sexual threat and cast transgender men as duped victims of a patriarchal conspiracy.

‘If we legislate to police gender in toilets, then how and at what point do we decide who is and isn’t a woman?

‘Will all facilities require a gender checking attendant? Do tall, broad or deeper-voiced women face being challenged for ID to prove their gender? Will women with short hair who dress in traditionally-male clothing be asked to prove their sex?

‘Will a woman be forced to show a stranger their body to pass a gender test? What, precisely, would happen if a woman were judged, in one way or another, to be a man? Will she be arrested or fined or removed from the premises?

‘Will all women need to carry a mandatory ‘woman certificate’? Or will only trans women be forced to carry proof that they have a GRC?

‘None of this sounds remotely progressive and none of it sounds like the empowerment of women.’