People could have gender transition signed off by single GP under Labour plans

Trans protesters
Trans protesters

People who want to change their gender could have their transition signed off by a single GP under Labour plans.

The party is considering how to make it easier to obtain a gender recognition certificate, while still keeping doctors involved in the process.

The current system for obtaining the document, which allows transgender people to have their affirmed gender legally recognised, involves two medical reports.

One of those reports must be from a specialist, which says that the person has “gender dysphoria”, which means they are distressed because of the mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity.

Then the application is considered by a panel, which involves doctors and lawyers.

Labour’s plans include removing the panel from the process, and only requiring one doctor to be involved.

It is understood that the party is considering the possibility that the one doctor could be a GP.

Labour would also remove the ability of a spouse to object to someone changing their gender.

Plans would be put to consultation

A source told The Times, which first reported on the plans, that the party wanted the process to become “less medicalised” but that the proposals would still have a doctor involved, and would not allow people to self-identify in order to obtain legal changes.

They added that it had not yet been decided whether the medical professional would be a GP or a gender specialist, and the plans would likely be put out to a consultation if Labour wins the next election.

Labour is weighing up whether or not the one doctor in the process should be a GP, because if a specialist had to sign off on someone changing their gender they would have to be referred by a GP.

This would therefore mean that obtaining a gender recognition certificate would retain the two-step process that the party wants to ditch.

Anneliese Dodds, shadow women and equalities secretary, said that the party wanted to remove the “futile and dehumanising parts” of the process.

She said: “Labour is the party of equality. We believe everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.

“We want to see the process for gender recognition modernised, while protecting single-sex spaces for biological women.

“This means stripping out the futile and dehumanising parts of the process for obtaining a gender recognition certificate, while retaining important safeguards.”

Views on gender shift

Views within the Labour Party on gender, including those of Sir Keir Starmer have shifted over the last few years.

Last year, the party dropped its stance that had been in place since the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, that would have allowed people to change their legal sex without a medical diagnosis.

In 2021, Sir Keir struggled to say whether or not a woman could have a penis.

In 2023, the Labour leader said that 99.9 per cent of women “haven’t got a penis”, before going on to say in July last year: “Firstly, a woman is an adult female, so let’s clear that one up.”

In the wake of the Cass review into gender care for children, published last month, Sir Keir said that it was “biologically” correct to say that only women have a cervix.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, admitted he was wrong to say that “trans women are women” after the report was published, saying there were “lots of complexities” on the issue.

But last week, Labour fell short of promising that the new sex education guidance for schools would be kept in place if the party came into power.

The guidance urges schools not to teach contested gender ideology and says that sex education should not be taught earlier than the age of nine.

Labour has argued it needs time to look through the details of each proposal before committing to keep them.