British Government Rejects Calls To Make It Easier To Change Gender Registration

By Owen Evans
Owen Evans
Owen Evans
Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.
March 25, 2022 Updated: March 25, 2022

The British government has rejected a number of recommendations to reform the Gender Recognition Act including a system of self-declaration.

In a December 2021 report from the Women and Equalities Committee, cross-party MPs called for reform to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, with the Committee’s Chair, Caroline Nokes MP, stating that the Act was “crying out for modernisation.”

This included removing the diagnosis of gender dysphoria and the requirement to have lived in the acquired gender for a set period of time.

On Thursday, the Government responded by saying that the balance struck in the legislation was correct, in that there are “proper checks and balances in the system for people who want to change their legal sex.”

“The evidential and diagnosis requirements in the GRA ensure that the process is rigorous and provides assurance that the system is robust, whilst offering provision for people who wish to change their legal sex,” it added.

The government also said that it has given no indication that it will rethink its stance, believing it appropriate that an applicant should give evidence of having “for example, changed their name or title.”

Though it did say that there were some areas where the government is willing to bring about change, including the spousal consent provision. Currently, it is required married applicants acquire the consent of their spouse in order to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Nokes said that the government had “missed a clear opportunity to bring the Gender Recognition Act into the modern-day.” She said that she was monitoring the progress of the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill with interest.

In devolved Scotland, new measures in the reform of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill will mean that the age people can apply to the gender recognition process will be reduced from 18 to 16. Furthermore, the time period applicants need to live in the acquired gender will be reduced from two years to three months, with the requirement for a medical diagnosis and evidence removed.

“In December, after over a year of consultation with a wide range of voices, we called on the Government to enact real, meaningful change to the gender recognition process. Its response makes clear that it is not prepared to go anywhere near far enough, but there is some movement in the right direction,” said Nokes.

“Moving closer to a system of self-declaration and away from the currently over-medicalised process of gender transition would have given transgender people the dignity and respect they deserve. I am disappointed that the Government is unwilling to take simple steps- such as the removal of the requirement to live as a stereotype in an acquired gender, or the requirement for a ‘gender dysphoria’ diagnosis- to move the GRA into the modern-day,” she added.

Owen Evans
Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.