I sent off my application for my Gender Recognition Certificate this week. So far it’s cost me £140 for the application, £48 to get a statutory declaration notarised, £30 for medical reports and £7.40 in postage; they’ve asked for additional evidence so that’s another trip to the Post Office today. It’s good to finally set the wheels in motion; I’ve had to wait more than two years to do so because I need to provide documentary evidence that I’ve been living as me for that period.
Under the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act I’d still have to provide most of the things I’ve had to provide, but I wouldn’t have had to wait three extra months for a psychological report and I wouldn’t have had to pay £140. The postage bill might be a bit lower too.
That’s pretty much the only difference between the system we’ve had in place for sixteen years and the proposed reforms to it.
Here’s what my GRC will enable me to do in everyday life:
GRCs have nothing to do with everyday life. They’re about changing your birth certificate’s gender marker and nothing else. That is relevant to me should I remarry, and it changes what it says on HMRC’s computer and may impact my eligibility for certain benefits in the future. It used to affect the state pension but I’m too old for it to have any effect on mine.
Here’s what impact my GRC will have on the toilets I use and the single-sex spaces I access:
It’s got nothing to do with any of that. That’s all covered by the Equality Act, which is not going to change.
Whether it’s reformed or not, the Gender Recognition Act has no connection with what toilet I use, which spaces I’m permitted to access or the legal definition of men, women or anything else. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either misinformed or malicious.
Unfortunately the misinformed and the malicious are currently flooding the Scottish government with submissions demanding a halt to any reform of the Gender Recognition Act. It’s an odd thing to target, but it’s enabled them to flood mainstream and social media with increasingly outlandish claims about the supposed dangers of trans women (never trans men) as part of a wedge strategy to weaken the wider LGBT+ community.
You can help battle the bigots by completing the gender recognition consultation. Feminist group Sisters Scotland have produced a really good guide for anybody who wants to be an ally to trans people, and you’ll find it here.
Trans and non-binary people are being targeted in mainstream and social media with inaccurate information and campaigns to deny their human rights. In solidarity with our trans and non-binary siblings, we urge trans allies to respond to this consultation.
…the main Scottish feminist charities already implement policies that are inclusive of trans women and they agree with the joint declaration of support for GRA reform issued by several Scottish women’s charities.
It’s a good guide to what the current law actually is, and what minor changes are being proposed.
Incidentally, if you’re wondering why I’m not waiting for reform before applying for my own GRC, it’s because I’m not confident that any reform is going to happen any time soon. In England, the government ran a consultation on GRA reform in 2018 and still hasn’t published the results; in Scotland, we’re now in the middle of the second consultation on the same issue because a bunch of bigots didn’t get the result they wanted. With pretty much the entire mainstream media happily demonising trans people and demonstrating complete ignorance of the law, I’m not feeling very optimistic right now.