The new UK government report on transgender equality was announced on Thursday and the press release in the previous blog was sent out to over 20 journalists, including all national daily newspapers.
The government must agree a new strategy, with full cross-party support, within 6 months. These are the new recommendations which most concern us:
- Consideration to be given to reducing the amount of time required for the assessment that children must undergo before puberty-blockers and cross-sex hormones can be prescribed.
- Staff training in ‘gender identity’ issues, and trans and gender issues to be taught as part of PSHE classes in schools (this has in fact been happening since 2008, the proposal is to do more).
- A change in the application process for Gender Recognition Certificates (under the Gender Recognition Act 2004), to be based on ‘self declaration’ in place of a diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria.’
- The right of ‘gender non-conforming’ adolescents to have their ‘true gender’ recognised on the basis of self-determination.
- Reducing the minimum age at which application can be made for gender recognition from 18 to 16.
- A change in the name of the protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 from ‘gender reassignment’ to ‘gender identity’ (the term ‘transsexual’ is also defined as ‘outdated and misleading.’)
- An expansion of the definition of ‘trans’ to include “the full spectrum of gender variant, gender non-conforming, gender diverse or gender atypical identities.”
- A change in the exemption for single-sex services: the previous right to exercise discretion in excluding a trans person cannot now be applied to anyone whose ‘acquired gender’ has been recognised under the (amended) Gender Recognition Act 2004.
To sum up: ‘transgender’ has become a meaningless category which potentially includes everyone. The label may now more easily be applied to any child who does not conform to sex stereotypes. Consequently the report manages to both normalise a ‘transgender’ identity at the same time as putting children who don’t fit sex stereotypes into a special separate category with a name. So the report has serious implications for the way society views children’s normal developmental behaviour.
Vulnerable teens will be especially susceptible to this ‘pick your personality’ self-classification choice, and they may not have to wait so long to get it set in stone with the proposal to reduce waiting times for ‘treatment.’ Less attention will be paid to examining any underlying causes, or pressures within teen culture to self-define as trans. Sex-segregated spaces will effectively no longer exist if the criteria for being a woman is now only self-declaration.
CALL TO ACTION
Please write to your MP to protest these new recommendations before they get passed in to law. You can find your local MP by clicking on this link. We have written a template letter here to help you, but please do write your own concerns too. Personal stories are especially powerful, or anything related to your own local area. Be as passionate as you feel but please remain polite and respectful so you’ll get listened to!