Support Arts SU's response to the Gender Recognition Act Consultation

by Emilie Tapping 12 October 2018, 18:15

Category: Students Union Petition

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Gra artwork

Arts SU supports Stonewall’s position that the current process to get a Gender Recognition Certificate is long, complicated, costly and medicalised. It requires a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, which positions being trans as a mental illness, requires medical treatment reports and evidence of living in their ‘acquired gender’ for two years. It is so intrusive and dehumanising that most trans people can’t face it.

We agree that it is wrong for legal recognition of gender identity to depend on a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Being trans is not a mental illness. People should be able to legally self-determine their gender in line with best practice in other countries, such as Ireland, Malta, Argentina and Norway. With self-determination, a trans person does not need to be diagnosed with a medical condition or prove themselves as ‘trans enough’.

Arts SU supports Stonewall’s position that you should not be required to provide medical evidence of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to be recognised as a trans person, nor should there be a requirement for any reporting of treatment received.

The law already says you do not need to have a medical intervention to be recognised as trans. Therefore legal recognition should not require a doctor’s report detailing treatment received. Being recognised as trans should not be a medicalised process, and the medical treatment trans people have received should not be a factor in the process. Not all trans people want medical interventions, and those who do can wait a long time to receive appropriate support.

Arts SU supports Stonewall’s position that trans people applying for legal gender recognition have to submit evidence of living in their ‘acquired gender’ for two years. Trans people know their gender identity better than anyone else, and should not have to prove themselves as ‘trans enough’. Arts SU therefore believes that trans people should not have to provide evidence to show that they have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years, nor should the government introduce a ‘reflection period’.

Arts SU supports Stonewall’s position that a statutory declaration is a sensible approach as part of a gender recognition system based on self-determination, as long as it’s the only requirement for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate and the process is simple, accessible and low cost. This is a feature of leading gender recognition systems, such as those in Norway, Ireland and Malta.

Arts SU supports Stonewall’s position against the current law, which states that if a trans person is married, their spouse is allowed to block their application for gender recognition. This denies trans people in this situation the right to determine their own gender identity. Instead, we would like to see a system that enables a trans person to get a gender recognition certificate without needing the permission of their spouse.

Arts SU supports Stonewall’s position that 16 and 17 year-olds should have the same access to recognition, helping those starting full-time work or further education in their true gender. And we want to see a recognition process for under-16s based on parental consent.

Currently you can only be legally recognised as male or female. This does not work for non-binary people, whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. This means a large group of people face inequalities and discrimination because their identity is not recognised in law.

Arts SU supports Stonewall’s position that non-binary people should have their identity legally recognised. We believe that full legal recognition for non-binary people is essential to the success of these reforms.