Transgender Explained

Jennifer, one of our Oasis ladies has produced this information to promote further understanding.

Transgender Explained

Understanding the proposed changes to the gender recognition process

When a baby is born, the delivering Midwife or Doctor will look at the baby and its genitalia and pronounce (but not always) “it’s a girl” or “it’s a boy” and this is what gets entered on the birth certificate. As the child grows up and enters adulthood, if that child/adult is comfortable and fully accepting of their assigned at birth sex then they are termed as being cisgender where ‘cis’ is a scientific word meaning ‘on the same side as’ i.e. their gender is the same as their assigned at birth sex. But if that person is not comfortable and feels that their gender does not align with their birth sex assignment, then they are termed as being transgender. Think of this like left and right handed people, the majority of people are born right handed but a minority will be left handed. They did not choose to be left handed, but it is the way they are, it’s the way the brain was wired. It’s estimated at that about 1 in 300 people are transgender and if you include intersex conditions that figure increases to about 1 in 100 people (NHS statistics).

Recent medical studies have identified distinct differences in the structure of certain areas the brain between cisgender males and cisgender females. These studies have also found that those same areas of the brain in transgender person does not correspond to their assigned at birth sex but that of the opposite sex, that is, the gender that the person feels they are aligned with. The World Health Organisation has very recently accepted transgender as being a medical condition and possibly an intersex one.

There has been some very poor and inaccurate media reporting on proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) to allow what is being termed “Self ID”. The proposed changes won’t mean that a man can suddenly declare themselves to be a woman for the purposes of entering all female spaces (or a woman for that matter declaring they are male in order to enter male only spaces). What “Self ID” is about is to replace the current GRA process which is very lengthy, highly bureaucratic and expensive with a much simpler, but still a formal, legally binding process known as a Statutory Declaration. The end result will be the same, namely a change to the sex (gender) marker on a person’s birth certificate, and that change is for the rest of that person’s natural life. The Deed Poll process used to change ones legal name is a similar Statutory Declaration process.

In case you were unaware the GRA came into law in 2004 and The Equalities Act of 2010 legally allowed transgender individuals to use single sex facilities corresponding to ‘their’ gender although the act does allow for exceptions in certain circumstances (but public toilets for example are not an exceptional circumstance). A person who is transgender has also been able to update the gender marker on their driving licence and passport using a Statuary Declaration process since 2010. Note that a person who is transgender will have legally changed their name, updated the gender marker on their passport and/or driving license and done the same with HMRC and their local Council before they embark on the GRA process to legally change the sex (gender) marker on their birth certificate. In reality this legal change of the Birth Certificate gender marker is done through the issue of a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). To date many transgender people haven’t gone down the GRA/GRC route because of its complexity and cost as they can achieve 95% without it.  But to get that updated birth certificate not only represents closure but so confers rights unobtainable by other means because it means that a person may be legally regarded as their ‘acquired’ gender. An example being a transgender person cannot marry in their ‘acquired’ gender without a GRC.

Questions, please contact or Oasis

© Norfolk Oasis 2018

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