Many of my constituents have written to me about reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). I believe that reform of the GRA should be used to progress rights in this country.
I have long called on the Government to introduce a system of self-declaration for trans people. I also believe it is important that the Government does not interfere with protections under the Equality Act, which ensure that trans people are not wrongfully excluded from single-sex spaces.
In July 2017, the Government committed to review the GRA to examine “options to streamline and demedicalise the gender recognition process.” The Government committed to consulting on reforming the GRA and launched its consultation in July 2018. This consultation closed in October 2018 and the Government is yet to officially respond.
I am concerned that delays in reforming the GRA have created a hostile environment for LGBT+ people.
I am committed to championing the rights of the trans community who often suffer some of the worst violence and hate crime. There is more we can do to ensure this country is inclusive to all people regardless of their gender identity.
I am aware concerns have been raised regarding reports over the Government’s plans to scrap proposals to allow people to change their legal gender by self-identifying. I am also aware that further concerns have been raised over reported proposals to set out new safeguards to protect female-only spaces.
This is a nuanced and fraught debate, one which I do not feel is appropriate to handle through social media or through the leaking of review recommendations.
It is very important we work closely with others in scrutinising the Government’s proposals once they are finally published. These discussions must be conducted on the basis of fact and respect.
I am determined to listen and understand the challenges facing the trans community to help deliver change and put the right policies in place to protect and respect everyone’s rights.
Thanks to all the constituents who contacted me about this important issue. I will continue to monitor developments closely.