The Government has committed to making it easier for transsexual people to legally change sex, as part of a review of the Gender Recognition Act.
A spokesman said that Ministers want to ‘streamline and de-medicalise’ the process for “changing a person’s legal gender”.
He was responding to several demands by homosexual lobby group Stonewall to make sure trans people are “accepted without exception”.
Currently, a transsexual person can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate to change the sex on their birth certificate. They need to live in their assumed gender for two years and be diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Tara Stone, a representative of Stonewall, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that trans people should be able to ‘self-declare’ their gender.
Asked about the concept, Stone said: “I think it’s about self-definition and allowing people that right of self-definition”.
Director of The Christian Institute Colin Hart said the idea of self-declaration is alarming:
“If the Government does what activists want, a person will be able to swap their sex even more easily than now.
“This has alarming implications for schools – it will plunge young people into fear and confusion.
“Permitting self-declaration of your sex would also be alarming for adults as they use public lavatories and changing facilities.
“In places where this policy has been tried out it has led to instances of sex crime as men gain access to women’s facilities by posing as a transsexual.
“When the Gender Recognition Act was introduced, the Government assured us that there would be rigorous safeguards. It seems that activists now want all safeguards swept away.”
Gender neutral terms
Stonewall made several recommendations to the Government this week including the removal of the terms “gender reassignment” and “transsexual” from the Equality Act, because it believes them to be outdated.
The news comes just days after HSBC was criticised for allowing customers to choose from a swathe of new gender neutral terms, including abbreviations for “mystery”, “person” and “individual” on official forms.
The bank claims the terms – ten in all – offer a better experience for transsexual customers, although they can be used by any person.
Peter Tatchell, who campaigns on LGBT issues, warned that the terms risk creating confusion. While backing the bank for “showing sensitivity and support”, he cautioned: “I am not sure ten different titles are necessary.
“They risk creating confusion, misunderstanding, ridicule and backlash.”