Gender Recognition Act does not need changing, Liz Truss says

The Gender Recognition Act strikes the right balance in providing “proper checks and balances” while supporting people who want to change their legal sex, the Government has said.

Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss said that instead of changing the legislation, the process and experience of applying for a gender recognition certificate would be made “kinder and more straightforward”.

In a long-delayed response to a public consultation on the 2004 Act, Ms Truss wrote: “We want transgender people to be free to live and to prosper in a modern Britain.

“We have looked carefully at the issues raised in the consultation, including potential changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

“It is the Government’s view that the balance struck in this legislation is correct, in that there are proper checks and balances in the system and also support for people who want to change their legal sex.

“However, it is also clear that we need to improve the process and experience that transgender people have when applying for a gender recognition certificate, making it kinder and more straightforward.

“Our changes will address the main concerns that trans people themselves tell us they have about it.”

She said the process would be moved online, and that the fee would be reduced from £140 to a “nominal amount”.

Ms Truss said gender recognition reform is “not the top priority for transgender people” and that their “most important concern is the state of trans healthcare”.

“Trans people tell us that waiting lists at NHS gender clinics are too long.

“I agree, and I am deeply concerned at the distress it can cause.

“That is why we are opening at least three new gender clinics this year, which should see waiting lists cut by around 1,600 patients by 2022.

“The full benefit of the increases in clinical capacity that we’ve been able to secure will lead to greater patient choice, shorter waiting times, better geographical coverage and easier access.

“It will also make it easier to fulfil the medical requirements of obtaining a GRC.

“It is why we last year provided funding for the UK’s first national LGBT health adviser to help improve transgender people’s experience.”

More than 100,000 people responded to the Government’s consultation which was launched in July 2018 and closed in October 2018.