Government weighing up plans for gender recognition shake-up

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Minister for Women and Equalities is still “working through” a report calling for an urgent shake-up of gender recognition laws, over three months after it came out.

Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee, chaired by Conservative MP Maria Miller, released a landmark report on trans issues in January.

The committee warned that the NHS is currently in violation of the law due to extensive waiting times for transgender services, and also found that the current process of gender recognition is not fit for purpose.

Trans people currently have to jump several bureaucratic hurdles to get a Gender Recognition Certificate – with a panel judging whether they have provided enough ‘evidence’.

The report proposed a shake-up to the system after finding that the process is so convoluted, many trans people are giving up.

Speaking in Parliament, Mrs Miller questioned why she was yet to receive a full response from the government over three months later.

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan responded: “My hon. friend is absolutely right to mention the ground-breaking report published by the Committee that she chairs.

“She also mentioned the 30 recommendations, which we are working through.

“I am sure that, like me, she wants us to make sure that when we respond, we do so in a full and open way.

“The report calls for significant changes to the law, complex changes to the NHS and changes to the policies and practices of more than a dozen public bodies, and I want to make sure that we get the response right.”

Elsewhere, Mrs Morgan promised an announcement “sooner rather than later” on whether the ban on gay men giving blood will remain in place.

Currently, men who have sex with men must abstain from sex for 12 months in order to give blood.

The minister promised: “The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs, which sets blood donation guidelines, has announced that it is reviewing the evidence and the policy. We expect to hear from it sooner rather than later.”