It is quite heartening to see this UK government making some positive noises in favour of the human rights of those who are transgendered especially as they are so active in removing the rights of many others.
One thing surprised me in this report and that concerns what happens to the marriages of those who ‘opt’ for gender reassignment, namely that the marriage automatically ends! This can’t be right in the days when we have same sex marriage. Now I accept that if ones partner can’t accept ones gender change…but automatically?!
This is how the recommendations were reported yesterday in The Independent newspaper.
The first-ever parliamentary inquiry into trans discrimination found “high levels of transphobia” across society, undermining the careers, life chances and health of over half a million people.
The House of Commons Equalities Committee called for “root-and-branch” reform of the way public institutions deal with transgender people and said the Government should formulate a comprehensive strategy to address the issue within six months.
“Transgender people are today suffering the kind of discrimination that was faced by gays and lesbians decades ago,” Maria Miller, the committee’s chair, told The Independent.
“They are the last group of people in our society who endure overt and unchallenged prejudice and we need urgent root-and-branch reform of our public services to tackle it.”
The inquiry, the first by the House of Commons Equalities Committee, was particularly critical of the NHS, warning that the health service was “letting down trans people”, with too much evidence of an approach that was “discriminatory and in breach of the Equality Act”.
Witnesses told the inquiry that many GPs still treated gender dysphoria as a mental health condition and some even illegally denied healthcare to trans people “based on the fact that they do not agree with the choices that they have made”.
The key conclusions
* Government must update the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to self-declare their gender without the need for medical evidence.
* Within six months, the Government must agree a new strategy for transgender equality across all departments, including health, education and justice.
* A root-and-branch review by the NHS to assess how it treats transgender patients and what training needs to be put in place for staff.
* Transgender prisoners must be put in a prison or setting appropriate to their acquired or affirmed gender.
* The Ministry of Justice must consult with the trans community to develop a new hate crime action plan to increase levels of reporting. It must include mandatory training for police officers.
* Government should move towards “non gendering” official records. Transgender people should not have to state whether they are male or female on their passport.
* Married trans people must be allowed to undergo gender realignment treatment without the permission of their partner – or the need to divorce – as is the case now.
What chance any of this will happen? What can we do to ensure that it does?