Parliament to review gender laws for trans children

A Parliamentary committee is to look at provisions for transgender children in the UK, it has been confirmed.

A number of leading transgender campaigners have been invited to give evidence to the newly-formed Women and Equalities Select Committee, as it moves to review provisions for trans people in the UK across a number of areas.

As Parliament is set to reconvene next month, the committee announced the topics for September’s evidence sessions – with issues affecting trans youth confirmed to be the topic for a session on September 15.

It will be the first time that the committee has scrutinised provisions for trans youth, with campaigners from trans groups Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence among those invited to give evidence.

One of the UK’s leading clinical psychologists in the field of gender identity, Dr Ashley Miller, will also give evidence to the session.

UK law contains no provisions for trans people under the age of 18 to gain legal recognition, and options for gender treatment are vastly limited until people are over 16. Both issues are likely to be addressed in the trans youth session.

Separate sessions will also cover healthcare and trans people, hate crime and transphobia, and issues affecting trans people in the criminal justice system.

The healthcare session is expected to address the mammoth backlogs for NHS gender surgery – which experts warn are spiralling out of control – as well as the need to amend current gender legislation.

The UK’s Gender Recognition Act was passed in 2004 – and some campaigners have called for it to be updated, given more progressive laws passed elsewhere. The Republic of Ireland recently passed a new gender recognition law that allows trans people to legally change their gender through a statutory process, without medical involvement.

The new committee was formed in May after years of pressure from MPs – and has oversight of equalities and women’s issues across all government departments.

Former equalities minister Maria Miller was elected to chair the Committee – and confirmed the committee’s first actions will be a review of legislation and provisions for transgender people.

Healthcare professionals and trans activists will give evidence at the following sessions, all of which are open to the public:

September 8, 10:30 AM – Healthcare and trans people
Jess Bradley, Committee member, Action for Trans Health
Terry Reed OBE, Co-founder, Gender Identity Research and Education Society
Steve Shrubb, Chief Executive, West London Mental Health NHS Trust
Dr John Dean, Chair of the NHS national Clinical Reference Group for Gender Identity Services

September 8, 11:30 AM – Hate crime and transphobia
Helen Belcher, Director, Trans Media Watch
Prof Neil Chakraborti, Director, Leicester Centre for Hate Studies
Chief Constable Jane Sawyers, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on Transgender

September 15, 10:30 AM – Issues affecting trans youth
Susie Green, Chair, Mermaids
Dr Jay Stewart, Director, Gendered Intelligence
Anna Lee, Vice President: Welfare and Community, Lancaster University Students’ Union
Dr Ashley Miller, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Gender Identity Development Service, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

September 15, 11:30 AM – Issues affecting trans people in the criminal justice system
Prof Michael Brookes OBE, HMP Grendon/Birmingham City University
Megan Key, Equalities Manager for the Midlands Division of the National Probation Service
Michael Quinn, Executive Director, Out-Side-In