Should Gender Recognition Certificates Be Simpler?
In the UK, individuals are recognised as the gender that is on their birth certificates. In 2004, the Gender Recognition Act was a provision for transgender individuals to change this information. It effectively replaces the sex shown on their birth certificate. This topic has reached national news again. Parliament officials are calling for purposed changes to the process. So, what does this mean for trans individuals? Should Gender Recognition Certificates Be Simpler?
The current system
The current Gender Recognition Act, applicants for a gender recognition certificate (GRC), must meet specific strict criteria. The criteria includes proof they have lived as their preferred gender for two years.
Another criterion is that a gender recognition panel must make a medical diagnosis for transgender persons. This panel consists of legal and also medical professionals. The professional committee determines the medical diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’. It is currently a strict criteria before someone can legally change their gender.
A dividing issue
Many trans activists want the process to obtain a GRC to become more straightforward. The argument presented is that the process is intrusive as well as distressing. Instead, they want trans people to be able to self-declare without the current necessity for a medical diagnosis. Ultimately, they want people understanding of the distinction between sex and gender identity.
However, this has received criticism from individuals and groups. Many of these critics fail to understand what it means to be trans. These critics argue people should remain the assigned sex they were at birth. They fear trans identity threatens single-sex services and spaces.
Gender identity charities, such as Chrysalsis, claim these criticisms can cause harmful behaviour, and even violence, towards trans individuals. This kind of criticism also ignores the growing scientific evidence that being transgender is part of a person’s biology.
Time for a change?
The debate surrounding transgender rights has once again become a hot topic. Recently, Theresa May has pledged to improve trans rights in the UK. Plans to let people lawfully change their gender, without medical checks, will hopefully make obtaining GRC’s a simpler process.
Prime Minister Theresa May said, “being trans is not an illness and it should not be treated as such.” Her proposal is supported by Jeremy Corbyn, who has agreed with plans to remove the need for medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.