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Wednesday, 21 November 2018  
12. Rabi-ul-Awwal 1440
 
 

Salamun alaykum,

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.

 

Tell me more:

Therefore, this consultation opens the possibility of making the process of changing one’s legal gender much easier and may include moving towards a system of self-declaration of gender as being sufficient grounds to legally change one’s gender. A much simple process would give all people, including 16-17 years old, the right of self-determination.

For more details about these proposed changes visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reform-of-the-gender-recognition-act-2004

And

https://fairplayforwomen.com/

What would be its impact?

Implementation of proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 would for example, allow a man who has legally changed his gender to female – without undergoing any surgery – to legally access female only areas including washrooms, changing rooms, female only accommodation, hospital wards, prisons, etc. In addition, it means that if a woman requests a female service attendant such as healthcare worker, swimming pool lifeguard, hairdresser, beautician or any other female gender specific service she cannot be sure the person she sees will actually be a woman. Likewise, a man too cannot be sure that the person he sees will actually be a man.

The proposed reforms will have serious ramifications for women and men in religious communities which require sex-segregation. The implications for this specifically upon us as Muslims and also as general members of society would be hugely significant. This means that there will be no guarantee of single-gender spaces or single gender attendants. That is why something needs to be done about this.

What can I do?

You need to participate in this consultation. Like other concerned citizens in the U.K. it is a duty incumbent upon you to share your concerns with the government. Respond to the Consultation by the Government.

The deadline is on Friday 19th October, 2018 at 11:00pm.

You do not have to be an expert. Anyone can fill the consultation form.

How do I fill in the consultation?

Open the consultation form.  Alternatively, copy and paste the following link in your web browser:

https://consult.education.gov.uk/government-equalities-office/reform-of-the-gender-recognition-act/consultation/intro/

What does the consultation contain?

The consultation comprises of 21 questions. You do not have to respond to all. Out of these 14 of the questions are most critical. In case one finds it difficult to explain their answers then only a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer will do. If you only have time to answer a few questions then at least respond to questions 3,9,13, 19,20 and 22.

Note that you do not have to respond to all in one session. You can save your responses on-line as you proceed responding to the consultation.

Support is on hand: 

Attached please find a useful step by step guide prepared by Fair Play for Women; an apolitical group of ordinary people from all walks of life who have come together to fight for women’s and girls’ rights. It explains the basics about the complicated terminology and is intended to provide a guidance for responding to the consultation. This guide also suggests tips for responding to the 14 critical questions. For details of these tips visit

https://fairplayforwomen.com/full_guide/#q3

Finally, does my participation matter?

Yes. This does matter greatly to us, our children and our future generation. Each response will help shape the proposed reform of the act. By participating you will have performed your civic duty. In addition, you would have discharged a moral and religious obligation towards safeguarding women’s rights.

Please do it now. For your mum, your daughter, your sister and yourself.

 

أَعظَمَ اللهُ أُجُورَنا و أُجُورَكُم بِمُصابِنا بِالحُسَين ع

May Allah make our and your reward great for our mourning for Imam al-Husayn (as)


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