here’s how you can make a difference and support trans equality in the UK
VICE and Stonewall have teamed up for a campaign which calls on the British government to make vital changes to the Gender Recognition Act.
Image via VICE's Recognise Me campaign.
When the UK’s Gender Recognition Act (GRA) was initially passed all the way back in 2004, it was a landmark step forward for LGBT rights. But as times have changed the legislation, which opened up the possibility of legally changing your birth gender for one of the first times ever, is no longer fit for purpose -- and a new campaign from VICE and Stonewall is calling on the government to make vital updates to the act.
The campaign, Recognise Me, focuses on the lengthy medical process trans people are forced to undergo under the current regulations. The long and often traumatic process involves psychiatric evaluations, two years of proof the person has lived as their “acquired gender” and a £140 application fee -- all to prove to a panel of clinicians they have never met before that they are trans enough to warrant recognition of their lived identity.
The Recognise Me campaign calls on LGBTQI people, allies and anyone who cares about equality and trans rights to submit their views to the government as part of its public consultation on how best to reform the GRA. The consultation, which ends this Friday, can be submitted online and takes just 10 minutes. “It’s wrong that a trans person is required to submit to a psychiatric assessment or answer a stranger's questions about genital surgery in order to have documents which reflect their lived identity and provide them with privacy,” says VICE guest editor and transgender activist Shon Faye.
The campaign couldn’t come at a better time -- as trans and non-binary people are attacked by right wing political groups and media and activists seek to exclude trans women from protests and activism. Just last week in fact, the Advertising Standards Authority began an investigation into a full page ad in Metro which attacked transgender rights.
“It is no coincidence that we are currently seeing the rise of an emboldened right wing that seeks to roll back hard-won protections of the bodily autonomy of all women, all trans people and all gay people by the same stroke,” Shon writes. “Solidarity between oppressed groups is vital -- now more so than ever. All of us -- feminists, gay activists, trans people -- know legal equality to be a prerequisite for extricating ourselves from oppression. For that reason, we should all be calling for reform of the Gender Recognition Act.”