UNISON GUIDE ON RESPONDING TO THE CONSULTATION ON REFORM OF THE GENDER RECOGNITION ACT

UNISON GUIDE ON RESPONDING TO THE CONSULTATION ON REFORM OF THE GENDER RECOGNITION ACT

 

Introduction

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) governs how trans people can have their identity legally recognised. This was groundbreaking in its time, but it is now seriously out of date and needs reform.

The Government is holding a public consultation on reform of the GRA. The full details of the consultation are here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reform-of-the-gender-recognition-act-2004

UNISON believes that the current procedure for legal gender recognition is humiliating, bureaucratic and expensive. It requires trans people to go through intrusive medical assessments and interviews with psychiatrists in order to ‘prove’ their gender identity. It requires trans people to have a formal diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’, to live in their ‘acquired gender’ for two years, and submit evidence supporting all of this to a gender recognition panel (who have never met the applicant) who have the power to approve, or deny, an application. UNISON is fundamentally opposed to the idea that a panel of ‘experts’ can sit in judgement of a person’s gender identity.

People who are non-binary (they don’t identify as either male or female) don’t have any legal recognition at all under the current GRA. You also have to be 18 to get recognition of your gender identity under the current law.

UNISON supports calls for a self-declaration process, in line with international best practice, open to under 18s, and providing legal recognition for people with a non-binary gender identity

The GRA is separate from the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act provides trans people with protection against discrimination, but it also contains exceptions that permit the exclusion of trans people from single sex  services, facilities and occupations if this is it is a proportionate means to achieve a legitimate aim. There has been a great deal of alarmist and misleading information from some groups and in the media claiming that reforming the GRA will mean an end to these exceptions. However, the Government has made it clear that it is not reviewing the Equality Act, so these exceptions will remain.

In Scotland, gender recognition is a devolved matter. The Scottish Government has already held its own consultation, and thousands of people responded. You can see information on the responses, including the submissions from UNISON Scotland here http://www.unison-scotland.org/library/UNISON-response-to-Scottish-GRA-consultation.pdf

We can expect there will also be thousands of responses to the Government’s consultation. We need allies as well as trans people to fill in this survey so please take the time to do so. You have until October 19th at 11pm but if you would like more guidance you can find further information and guidance on the Stonewall website https://www.stonewall.org.uk/gender-recognition-act  and the LGBT Foundation website https://lgbt.foundation/gra

You can submit your response online through the government website: https://consult.education.gov.uk/government-equalities-office/reform-of-the-gender-recognition-act/

 

Demo over Chechnya this Saturday

A demonstration has been organised for this Saturday to raise awareness of and show solidarity for people in Chechnya who are being rounded up, tortured, and murdered on suspicion of being gay.

Details of petitions will be available asking Theresa May to use her position and influence to put pressure on Putin and Kadyrov to cease these human rights violations immediately.

The March will commence at midday on Saturday May 27, from Brighton Station.

The route will be: Brighton Train Station – North Street – East Street – Bartholomew House headquarters for Brighton & Hove City Council.

Dress code – black t-shirt/top – pink triangles will be available to secure to your top (or you can bring your own).

To make a donation and help fund the cost of posters, click here:

For up to date information, click here:

Please forward/share as much as possible.

 

National Protest against Driver only trains, April 26th, Old Palace Yard, Westminster

April 26th marks a year of the RMT Southern Guards determined industrial action against driver Only operation (DOO) with over 30 strike days taken so far and more days planned until they can reach a joint settlement. The DOO dispute is about safety, security and accessibility on the railways , and is one which puts passengers before profit.

To mark that anniversary, and the threats they face elsewhere in the country by its threatened extension, they will be holding a protest at noon outside Parliament followed by a rally in Central Hall at 2.00pm.

 This will be their last opportunity to make some noise outside parliament until after the election and it would be great to have as much support as possible so please come along and show support if you can.

 

SAVE THE DATE – University of Brighton UNISON AGM March 8th in Cockcroft hall.

The University of Brighton UNISON AGM will be held on Wednesday March 8th in Cockcroft hall.  The meeting is 12 .30 – 2pm (12 if you want a buffet lunch) and members will be getting an invite in the next week.

This year’s AGM will include:

* Kath Owen, speaker from UNISON Higher Education Service Group Exec

* Reports from your Branch Officers and Representatives

* A chance to put questions to the Branch Committee

*Elections of next year’s Officers and Representatives

*Business including the Financial Report