Easier, faster gender transitions
The British government plans to make it easier and faster to change genders. According to a new proposal announced Sunday by Britain’s women and equalities minister, Justine Greening, people who wish to change their legal gender will no longer need a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria or be required to provide evidence that they have been in transition for two years. Under the proposed plan that streamlines the Gender Recognition Act of 2004, anyone can get a new legal birth certificate with a preferred gender simply by completing an administrative process.
Advocates say people should be able to self-identify, and that though the current law was groundbreaking in giving transgendered individuals the right to have their gender legally recognized, the process needs reform: “We need a simple process which isn’t medicalized, intrusive, or demeaning,” Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, Europe’s largest LGBT advocacy group, told The Guardian.
But others are pushing back, instead arguing the decision to change legal gender should not happen easily or quickly. “It should not be easy to do something as massive as change your gender and the law is there to protect us, normally from other people, but also sometimes from ourselves,” Mary Douglas of Grassroots Conservatives told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
“Gender dysphoria is a psychological condition,” said a spokesman from The Christian Institute, a U.K. faith-based advocacy group. “People who believe they are trapped in the wrong body need patient help to come to terms with reality.”
Even some LGBT advocates think the proposal goes too far. In an editorial published by The Daily Mail, British writer Libby Purves says the current law is a warranted safeguard against impulsive decisions, and also noted that “’self-identification’ has its limits and also its dangers.”
“How sensible is it to expect parents to entrust their shy little girls—without being informed—to a camping trip led by a muscular figure called Maureen, who still shaves every day, and has not been through any medical screening, but merely 'self-identified'?” asked Purves.
Greening said the government will publish a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act in the fall. —K.C.