Public consultation by the Government:
The Government Equalities Office is holding a public consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. This consultation is to seek views from the public on how to reform the legal gender recognition process. It closes on Friday 19th October, 2018.
What is the Gender Recognition Act 2004:
This is an act of parliament of the UK that allows people having gender dysphoria (the condition of feeling one's emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one's biological sex at birth) to change his or her legal gender. This law allows a person to legally change their sex and they are given a new birth certificate to reflect this.
Currently in order for a person wanting to legally change their gender there are strict conditions which need to be met. The person needs to be at least 18 years to make an application for a Gender recognition certificate. Other conditions include having a medical diagnosis of Gender dysphoria; made when someone is experiencing discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between the sex they (s/he) were born and their own sense of their “gender identity”. In addition, they need to prove they (s/he) have lived as their preferred gender for at least Two years. Since this Act came into law in 2004 under 5000 people have legally changed their gender.
What is this Consultation about?
This consultation, focusing on the Gender Recognition Act 2004, is seeking views on how best to reform the process of changing one’s legal gender. As outlined earlier, presently, in order to legally change one’s gender the process requires strict conditions which need to be fulfilled. The Government wants to make the process less intrusive and bureaucratic for trans people to achieve legal recognition of their gender. The consultation seeks views from the public how best Government might make the existing process under the Gender Recognition Act a better service for those people who wish to use it.
The Government is proposing to simplify the conditions around this law to remove the required medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to move onto a system of ‘self-declaration’ of gender possibly through a statutory declaration.
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