Following a report by the Women and Equalities Committee on transgender equality earlier this year, the government published its response last week and announced a review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. This will determine whether changes can be made to streamline and de-medicalise the gender recognition process.
The government has also said it will introduce an action plan which will involve, among other things:
- Conducting a cross-government review on removing unnecessary requests for gender information, including in official documents
- Improving the way people are supported by gender identity services through new training of NHS staff
- Tackling harassment and bullying in higher education by working with universities
- Assessing how to measure the size of the UK’s transgender population so that policy can be more evidence-based, allowing the government to track the impact of its work
- Measuring and monitoring public attitudes towards transgender people.
Alongside this package, the government has said it will look at better ways to collect information about transgender people, including a study to measure the size of the UK’s transgender population. And this year, for the first time, the British Social Attitudes Survey will include a range of questions on public attitudes towards transgender people.
In addition to a previous £2 million fund for projects to train over 20,000 teachers, the government has now said it will commit another £1million toward tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
The move comes following the publication of a study which identified that trans young people (under 26) in England were nearly twice as likely to have attempted suicide in their life compared to non-transgender peers and were nearly three times more likely to have self-harmed than their non-transgender peers.
Jo Seery, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: ”While the Government’s response is welcome, it is disappointing that it has not agreed to amend the Equality Act 20101 to make it absolutely clear that the wider trans community, including those identifying as non-binary and gender fluid individuals, are protected from discrimination.”
To read the response in full, click here.
1 The Equality Act 2010 provides protection from discrimination because of gender reassignment. The Act states that a person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if they are undergoing the process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning their sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex. The women and equalities committee thought this definition outmoded and confusing because some still have the mistaken belief that only those undergoing medical gender reassignment are protected.