September the 22nd was a busy day for the Government with a lot of noise being made about Covid19. So you would have been forgiven if you missed the Minister for Women and Equalities (Liz Truss) announcement in the House of Commons give the Governments response to the 2017 GRA consultation. No surprises in the announcement, given the recent Tory press ‘leaks’, that a proper and full reform of the GRA has been effectively kicked into the long grass. There were however some positives to come out of the announcement and indeed relief that the Government was still generally supportive of the transgender population.
What were the positives?
There was recognition that the overall GRA process was overly bureaucratic and that it needed to be kinder and more straightforward, the Government is also committing to placing the whole process on-line.
There was a recognition that the process was overly expensive and the Government is committing to reduce the current fee of £140.00 to a nominal amount. However this fails to recognise the costs associated with the gathering of acceptable evidence.
There is a commitment by the Government to continue the support of the transgender population through the Equality Act 2010.
Finally the Government has committed to opening at least three new Gender Clinics (GIC’s) in this current year. It does remain to be seen if Covid19 and the impending 2nd wave of infections will have a negative impact on this commitment. Of course it’s also not clear which year we are talking about, calendar or Government/NHS/Financial.
While the Government has not caved into the anti-trans rhetoric from the media and other anti-trans forces, it hasn’t reformed the GRA in the way many in the transgender population wanted i.e. by de-medicalising the process and the introduction of a legal self-declaration (cf: Deed Poll). Regarding the reforms identified such as the introduction of a simpler online based process, the devil will be in the detail, and we don’t as yet have sight of the detail.
For those interested in reading the actual statement made in the House of Commons by Liz Truss, here is the Internet link:
Here is a link that will take you to the Government publications website where you can download the full analysis of the 2017 GRA consultation. It does make for interesting reading though, like me, you will probably dip and delve rather than read it cover to cover (nearly 8 MB of PDF):