Boris Johnson backtracks on reforms to make changing gender easier

By scrapping proposed changes to the Gender Reformation Act, the government is actively endangering trans lives.

by Mahoro Seward
15 June 2020, 12:09pm

As we discuss the steps needed to uplift historically marginalised communities and bring about true equity in our human rights continue, it’s crucial that our trans siblings are placed front and centre. In America, crowds took to the streets in their thousands yesterday to express their outrage against the wave of fatal violence against trans people of colour, the latest victims of which -- Dominique "Rem'Mie" Fells and Riah Milton -- lost their lives just last week.

Though the discourse around the fight for trans rights and lives has typically focussed on the bleak situation in America, stoked by Donald Trump’s implementation of actively transphobic policies, there’s much work to be done in the UK, too.

In news leaked to The Sunday Times this weekend, it was revealed that the government has been taking steps to actively curb the rights of the country’s trans population, with plans to update the 2004 Gender Recognition Act set to be scrapped. The measures, devised by Theresa May’s government following a public consultation -- which saw over 100,000 responses, 70% of which were in favour of giving trans people the right to self-identify, according to The Sunday Times -- would have seen trans people afforded the rights to legally change the gender declared on their birth certificates without the need for a medical diagnosis. They would have also afforded formal recognition to non-binary people, who as things currently stand, are obliged to declare themselves as either male or female on official documentation.

Further alarming news came in the announcement of new legislature to ‘protect’ female-only spaces -- such as refuges and public toilets -- to prevent them from being used by anyone with male anatomy. The government’s plans to renege on such crucial reforms to the GRA -- despite overwhelming public support -- is just the latest bleak example of the government’s commitment to driving a myopic, self-serving agenda over accurately representing the people it alleges to represent.

Dire as this news may be, there’s still time to make your voice heard. Signing petitions like this one, for example, could help prevent a giant leap backwards for trans rights in the UK.

gender recognition act