The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will implement reform of the Gender Recognition Act as a priority, after the Conservative Government failed to bring forward measures despite promises to do so.
Under the plans, to be included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, the Act will be amended to make the gender recognition process simpler and fairer, by:
- Removing the requirement for medical reports.
- Scrapping the fee.
- Recognising non-binary gender identities.
The Conservative Government promised in 2017 to reform the Gender Recognition Act and held a public consultation on the proposals in 2018. The consultation closed more than a year ago – on 22nd October 2018 – but Conservative Ministers have not published their response to the consultation or brought forward the reforms.
Last month it was reported that the Conservatives had “shelved the plans” and intended them to be “kicked into the long grass”. In response to a question from Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine urging her to implement the reforms, Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss told the House of Commons “I will not be rushed into it”.
Speaking during Transgender Awareness Week, Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Christine Jardine said:
“This government has, by its own admission, kicked these vital changes to the Gender Recognition Act into the long grass. This is prolonging uncertainty and creating unnecessary anxiety for trans people at a time when transphobic hate crime is at a record high.
“The Conservatives’ inaction on this shows a fundamental lack of empathy. They are treating trans people as second-class citizens.
“The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future where every person’s rights are respected, including expression of their gender identity.”