Boris Johnson drops plans to make gender change easier

Boris Johnson is set to scrap plans to allow people to change their legal gender by "self-identifying" as a different sex, it has been reported.

Measures drawn up under Theresa May's government to enable transgender people change their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis have been ditched by Mr Johnson's No 10 team, according to The Sunday Times.

Instead, the paper said ministers plan to announce a ban on "gay cure" therapies, in what was described as an attempt to placate LGBT people.

At the same time, the Government was said to be preparing to set out new safeguards to protect female-only spaces – including refuges and public lavatories – to stop them being used by those with male anatomy.

The details were said to be contained in a leaked paper setting out the Government's long-delayed response to a public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act.

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The Sunday Times said that the paper was "basically ready" and was being slated for publication by the equalities minister Liz Truss at the end of July before MPs break for the summer.

A No 10 source told the PA news agency that the details of the response were yet to be finalised, and the Prime Minister would have the final say on the recommendations.

According to The Sunday Times, around 100,000 responses to the public consultation were received – with around 70% in favour of allowing people to self-identify as a man or a woman.

Coronavirus
Equalities minister Liz Truss (Aaron Chown/PA)

However, officials were said to believe that the results had been "skewed" by an "avalanche" of responses generated by trans rights groups.

The paper quoted a source as saying: "In terms of changing what is on your birth certificate, you will still need to have proper medical approval.

"And you're not going to be able to march in and find a hippie quack doctor who is willing to say you're a woman. That's not going to happen."

The source added: "There will be big moves on safe spaces and women-only toilets and and a total ban on 'gay cure' therapies."

Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds criticised the Government for "leaking" the change in policy to the press.

Speaking to Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday show, he said: "What I think we need to look at in this space is what trans people actually think and say to us.

"I think trans rights are human rights, I've said that before.

"I would listen very carefully going forward in what is an extremely sensitive area.

Brexit
Labour's Nick Thomas-Symonds has called for 'consensus' on the issue (PA)

"I'm not sure the Government scrapping plans and then leaking it out in a newspaper is the way to deal with this.

"I think we need a much better way going forward that is sensitive, seeks consensus and respects everybody's rights."

Amnesty International's women's rights programme director Chiara Capraro described the proposed changes as "extremely worrying".

"More than two years ago, the Government rightly set out a plan to reform the out-of-date Gender Recognition Act – a U-turn on this would send a chilling message that the UK is a hostile place for trans people," she said.

"Perpetuating wrong stereotypes of trans women as a danger to other women is dehumanising and wrong, and risks further inciting hate crimes against trans people."

A Government Equalities Office spokesperson said: "We will publish our response to our consultation on the Gender Recognition Act this summer.

"The minister for women and equalities has also made clear that she will be bringing forward plans to end conversion therapy shortly."

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