Here’s what trans people really think of the gender recognition process

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

The problems with the gender recognition process in the UK has been a hot topic over the last few weeks.

Here, PinkNews has looked at some of the flaws in the law and the bureaucracy behind it.

Following on from this, we spoke to some trans people about their experiences and thoughts on the issue.

Many people agree that the process is unnecessarily invasive. It has been described as “tantamount to letting the government look in your pants.”

It’s a long process, involving a huge amount of paperwork and two years worth of “proof” that a person has been living in their gender. This is widely criticised as unnecessary and demeaning.

One man who had been through the process said: “I really resent the fact that a panel of people who have never met me and know nothing about my life, other than having seen a few old gas bills and bank statements, met to determine my gender.

“It seems bizarre that they had the option to overturn both my declaration in front of a solicitor, and the written reports from two doctors (one an ‘expert’) who actually knew me.”

Another woman said: “I will have to present two years of documentation to prove who I am, so that I can have a chance of getting a gender recognition certificate.

“When I changed banks a few years ago, they only used my driver’s license as proof of ID – so why should we have to document our entire life for 2 years just to please a panel of people that only sit 3 – 4 times a year?”

But again and again there was one issue that came up above all.

Non binary and genderqueer people are unable to gain legal recognition. They must either remain legally the gender that they were assigned at birth, or go through the process to become the “other” gender. Both of which would be the wrong gender.

One non binary person told us:  “Non-binary recognition is totally lacking. The process is demeaning for everyone who goes through it for reasons described above, but it’s a process not even open to me.”

Another agreed: “We have absolutely no legal rights, recognition or protection.”

“As it stands only a small percentage of the trans community are currently protected by GRA. This needs to change. The law also needs to allow self certification of gender identity, including non binary genders!”

A person who was turned down for having a non binary gender told us: “Quite simply, the Gender Recognition Panel and current legislation does not recognise the existence of non binary genders.”