Imagine trying to clean my kitchen floor with tomato ketchup and then complaining to the manufacturer about the product. I am confident that were I to do so I would be considered quite mad!
As ridiculous as this sounds we have the same situation happening every day of the week. I refer of course to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) and the repeated assertions that it is not fit for purpose. This is simply not true. It serves those that it intends to serve (rightly or wrongly) when it was written – diagnosed transsexuals. When I hear, as I do many times a day, that the GRA does not serve the “needs” of self identified people my response is simple; this is not the target audience so of course it doesn’t!
Would we be having the same conversations if an able bodied person complained about the Disability Discrimination Act? Why does the DDA not serve people who aren’t disabled? The answer is of course obvious.
I am entirely unconvinced that self identity of Gender Recognition Certificates would not destroy decades of womens rights, womens safeties and womens opportunities.
Heres a few of the issues I have as it stands right now.
The name “Gender Recognition Act” is fundamentally wrong. The Act has nothing to do with recognising gender but rather allowing essentially a change of biological sex. In having this Act we are allowing a rewriting of history for transsexual people to pretend they were never born as male. I can understand, though not necessarily agree, why some may want to do so but I simply cannot see the GRA as a solution. I do believe we should differentiate medically diagnosed transsexuals from the modern transgender ideology but this isn’t it in my view.
As much as I detest being male I cannot change biological fact and it would simply not be psychologically healthy for me to ignore something so intrinsic to who I am. Of course I want to be accepted by women on the basis of some commonality and share interests but there will always be things that I will never understand.
I have two fundamental objections to the requirements of the GRA. For the purposes of this argument we will work on the assumption that people can change sex (and my thoughts on this are well known!)
- The GRA has no surgical or hormonal requirement at all. This surprises many who legitimately assume that the GRA only applies to post-op TS but that is not the case. A personal with a Gender Recognition Certificate can still have fully operational original equipment!
- The requirement for 2 years “time served” living as a woman. What does this mean? I’ve heard of apprentice mechanics and apprentice electricians but an apprentice woman? Essentially one must prove they have lived as the opposite sex for at least two years but by definition this validates the very gender roles and stereotypes that create much of the problems we see under the Transgender umbrella.
If we are to retain a GRA I would propose adding additional criteria that requires some element of medical transition and removing the requirement for time served.
Despite the Government introducing the GRC as a means of identifying transsexuals as their assumed sex it has failed to consistently adopt its own Act.
A UK Driving License allows its gender marker to be self identified (for those who say there is no gender on a driving license, it’s one of the digits in the driver number).
A UK Passport requires a doctor’s letter stating a person’s intention to present as the opposite sex for the rest of their life. No diagnosis, surgery, hormones, psychiatric or psychological intervention….and most certainly no GRC.
One of the few areas where a GRC is used is in marriage. The usage of the terms “husband” and “wife” within the marriage ceremony can only be changed after having had a GRC. However rather than the process of a GRC my preference has always been to allow the word “partner” to be used by both parties in a marriage service. To suggest one person takes the part of wife and the other of husband implies both roles and rules within the relationship that should be adhered to. Is a wife still to be a stay at home housewife whilst the husband is the breadwinner who goes out to work? Do you take someone in marriage as your life partner or do you take them to only fulfil a specific gender role?
All other problems aside a Gender Recognition Certificate is still proof that an individual is not self identified. It demonstrates a level of medicalisation and assessment that has taken likely years to go through.
It’s a pity then that you are not allowed to ask a person to produce it!
A rape shelter for example could choose to provide its services to GRC holders only, as a means of limiting against those who self identify (and I am not for one minute proposing this but simply putting forward a scenario). The reality is though they are not allowed to ask to see a GRC!
If no-one can see it whats the point?
Historically there was an argument that by identifying transsexual people as the opposite sex, they were covered by laws against sex discrimination.
Subsequently the advent of the Equality Act 2010 identifies “gender reassignment” as a protected characteristic and therefore protection is afforded by this vehicle. Soon, I will write my thoughts about my issues with the EA but that’s for another day….
Since a requirement for a GRC requires a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria, protection is provided under the Disability Discrimination Act.
It would be unfair to suggest I do not sympathise with the many transsexuals who seek a GRC to enable them to go into stealth. Having gone through transition there is no doubt that simply fading into the background and forgetting who you once were is a tempting, if not psychologically necessary, exercise.
The issue of course is a much broader one. This is not about post-op people with severe Gender Dysphoria who have struggled for many years through a harrowing process. This is about the erosion of women’s rights and safeties through self identity and affirmation diagnoses and the redefinition of womanhood to include penises.