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Statement from Plus and Wera Hobhouse, Spokesperson for Women and Equalities, on the government’s continuing failure to deliver GRA reform

September 2, 2020 7:32 PM
By Plus Lib Dems & Wera Hobhouse

Two years ago the Government opened a consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) proposing amongst its measures that the requirement for a person to undergo an humiliating, unnecessarily pathologising, and arduous medicalised transition route before they could apply for the simple dignity of having their human rights recognised would be removed and replaced with a simple, non-medicalised system.

Members of LGBT+ Lib Dems helped lead the way in ensuring that the voices and words of trans and nonbinary people would be heard in that consultation

Yet over the course of two years successive Tory Governments have repeatedly delayed announcing the results of the consultation, despite it being widely reported that a wide majority of respondents were in favour of removing the unfair and degrading barriers that stand in the way of trans people having the right to have the State treat them with simple dignity and respect.

On the 24th June, 2020 the Women's and Equalities Committee received in writing assurances from the Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, that the results of the consultation and the government's plan on reforming the GRA would be announced before Parliament's summer recess.

On the 22nd July 2020, Liz Truss U-turned on her written assurances to the Women's and Equalities Committee and announced that she would now release the results of the consultation and the government's plan on reforming the GRA over the Parliamentary summer recess. Yet, even though the summer recess is over and Parliament is once again sitting, the results of the consultation or any announcement of what steps the government will take next has still not been released.

For over two years the callous and cruel handling on the matter of a simple bureaucratic change to a process that would allow trans people to have simple and dignified access to their human rights has resulted in ever-increasing attacks, abuse, and hate directed at trans people across the UK. In 2018-2019 alone the rate of hate crime directed against trans people skyrocketed by 37% and things continue to get worse as this government engages in act after act of moral cowardice as it ignores the lives of trans people in the United Kingdom.

This weekend will see a protest in Parliament Square demanding that the government honours its commitments to trans people. The LGBT+ Lib Dems and Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Women & Equalities, add our voices to that call.

There is no good reason for the government to have not released the results of the consultation and moved forward with reform. Repeated delay after repeated delay on top of an ever-increasing pile of broken promises and assurances speaks to the contempt that this shambolic Johnson government has for trans people and their families.

It is long past time that Westminster governments stopped treating trans people as afterthoughts at best and convenient scapegoats and punching bags at worst. The request for simple dignity and respect is not one that should be greeted in the way it has by this government. Its handling of this matter is dishonest, cruel, and corrupt.

The Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Women & Equalities calls on this government to end its phony "culture war" against some of the most marginalised in society and instead do its job; recognising a simple truth that trans men are men, nonbinary people are nonbinary, trans women are women; that all are valid and deserve the simple respect and access to their human rights that every cis person in this country already has.