Trans rights first to be investigated by new Equalities Committee

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The new Women and Equalities Committee has announced that its first inquiry will be centred around equality for transgender people.

The historic committee – which was created last month to scrutinise the effectiveness of the Government’s equality policy – is marking its official launch by looking into how existing national policies help – or hinder – the trans community across Britain.

It will consider how far the UK has left to go before trans people have full equal rights – and how outstanding issues surrounding issues such as gender recognition and transphobia can be most effectively addressed.

Committee chair Maria Miller – the former Equalities Minister who steered same-sex marriage through the Commons – said: “Many trans people still face discrimination and unfair treatment in their work, schools, healthcare and other important services.

“Transphobia and hate crimes are a cruel reminder that we have still have a great deal to do to achieve true equality for everyone.

“I hope that trans people will feel able to share their experiences with our inquiry, so that the committee can make recommendations for improving people’s lives.”

The committee will look at terminology used in relation to trans issues, and whether existing laws discriminate against the trans community.

The committee will investigate discrimination against trans people in the Armed Forces, transphobia in the media, hate crime and how the criminal justice system treats trans people.

It also aims to determine whether the Gender Recognition Act 2004 needs amending, the effectiveness of the Equality Act 2010 in relation to trans people and how different governmental departments can work cohesively to deal with trans equality issues.

Other issues will concern the diagnosis of gender dysphoria – including the operation of NHS Gender Identity Clinics, access to gender reassignment treatment under the NHS, and NHS services for trans youth.

The announcement comes as a recent report found Britain still has hundreds of health workers who believe gay people can be ‘cured’, and many who use offensive language regarding trans people such as ‘tranny’ and ‘she-male.’

Miller added: “The committee has a very broad remit, covering age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.

“We are keen to hear views on specific issues which the committee should consider in its future work, and we welcome ideas from everyone.”

A petition created to convince the UK Parliament to allow transgender people to self-define their own legal gender has gained nearly over 20,000 signatures.

The petition, created by Ashley Reed last week, urges the Government to change the process of getting a Gender Recognition Certificate, during which half a dozen forms of ID are required.

It compares the Gender Recognition Act of 2004 with the new Irish Gender Recognition Act, which is considered more up-to-date and allows trans people to self-identify.