In December 2020 I was invited to present oral evidence to the Women and Equalities Commons Select Committee, as part of their Inquiry into proposed reforms of the Gender Recognition Act. This material is now available through the UK Parliament website.
I also submitted more extensive written evidence as part of the Trans Learning Partnership. This document was co-authored with colleagues at Gendered Intelligence, the LGBT Foundation, and Spectra, plus Goldsmiths researcher Dr Anna Carlile.
Reform of the Gender Recognition Act: Written evidence submitted by the Trans Learning Partnership
We argued that the Government’s proposed changes for those wishing to change the sex marker on their birth certificates – reducing the fee and moving the form online – are deeply insufficient, and will make the process neither “kinder” nor “more straightforward. An ideal approach would be a free and simple process based on the principle of self-declaration, rather than medical diagnosis and the provision of extensive documentary evidence. This should be available to non-binary people and under-18s as well as adult trans women and men. We also discussed the possibility of decertification (that is, the feminist principle of removing legal sex altogether) and the damage caused by Parliament’s poor handling of the “gender recognition” debate.
I had never really thought about it before the whole reform of the GRA palaver blew up, but since submitting my own response I have been wondering just what is the need for gender to be officially declared and recorded at all.