This arrived yesterday.
Including obtaining medical reports, the process of getting my Gender Recognition Certificate took ten months and cost nearly £300.
I have mixed feelings. That’s partly because I felt I had to get the certificate: the messages coming from the UK government make me worried that it may remove some anti-discrimination protections from trans people who don’t have GRCs. So in that respect it feels like I’ve been forced to apply: “Nice human rights you’ve got there. Shame if anything were to happen to them.”
I also feel somewhat resentful, because the process is horrible, drawn out and stressful. One of my crucial medical reports – a very simple form – took three months to arrive, delaying my application, because the clinician said he was too busy to do it; some unclear language in a doctor’s hastily scribbled notes meant I had to provide a written statement about some extremely personal and upsetting things I didn’t want to think about, let alone go into detail about in a document that would be read by multiple strangers. And throughout the process I was aware that if my application was rejected there’s no right to appeal; I’d have to wait six months before having to start the whole process again.
Ultimately, it’s a lot of money and effort for something that won’t affect my daily life at all, let alone yours. It means I can now legally become another woman’s wife rather than her husband, it means HMRC won’t misgender me, and that’s about it. Misinformed and malevolent people have spent more than two years scaremongering about what’s ultimately a largely inconsequential piece of paper.
And yet, and yet.
My GRC still means something to me. It means something in the same way that my formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria meant something. The Gender Recognition Panel is a branch of the HM Courts & Tribunal Service. Its president is a judge. My application was assessed by a judicial panel consisting solely of legal and medical professionals, and I can promise you that they are very, very thorough and very, very serious.
Hence my mixed feelings. It’s a horrible process to go through and it’s been a weight on my mind for a long time. But I can’t help feeling that it’s also a form of validation.