We gave written and oral evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee (WESC) as part of their inquiry into changing the Gender Recognition Act. The idea that the current process includes assessing someone’s masculinity or femininity, as Caroline Nokes claimed in the Guardian (23 Dec) is entirely incorrect. We, too, would reject such a process since, as Ms Nokes says, that approach risks “upholding stereotypical views of what it is to live as a woman or a man”.
No, the justification for granting someone the extraordinary right to rewrite the fact of their birth and to conceal that they have done so is their extreme distress in their sexed body, a condition known as Gender Dysphoria. Absent such a diagnosis, what reason could there possibly be for someone to be permitted to do this?
We support the committee’s belief that everyone should be free from discrimination no matter how they identify. This is already covered in the Equality Act, where gender reassignment is a protected characteristic which anyone may claim on their say-so alone. But our evidence showed how permitting the reissue of birth certificates by a simple process of self-declaration would be to the detriment of women and girls. The GRA was designed for that small number whose severe and persistent dysphoria would be relieved by transition, kept private by the legal fiction of changing their birth certificate. Making this an on-demand process for anyone who wants it, with no medical reason, will vastly increase the numbers of males in female single-sex spaces and services, and will make it impossible to maintain female sport, or female-only prizes and career opportunities.
WESC seems not to have heard our evidence at all. We are thankful that the Minister for Women and Equalities has already registered and understood our concerns, and has amended the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act accordingly.