What will actually happen if the UK adopts a ‘self-declaration’ gender recognition law?
You may have read a lot in the press about government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act.
The simple proposals put forward by Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening this week would eliminate many of the bureaucratic hurdles for trans people applying to change their legal gender, ditching outdated requirements for them to undergo a two-year process of ‘reflection’ and psychiatric treatment.
But that probably wasn’t what you read in the press.
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute – who just days ago advocated ‘cure’ therapy for transgender people – was given a platform in the Daily Express to claim that the change in law would also lead to people attempting to change their race and age.
Helen Lewis of the New Statesman separately argued that the proposals will make rape shelters unsafe for women, and lead to people with beards flashing their penises in women’s toilets across the country.
Melanie Phillips of the Spectator, meanwhile, added that it will lead to “oppression, socially engineered dysfunction and the loss of individual freedom”.
But will the sky actually fall in?
We don’t have to look far to find out.
The Republic of Ireland quietly adopted a liberal gender recognition law back in 2015, allowing transgender people to change their gender on a self-declaratory basis by filling out a simple form.
The form to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) in Ireland is just two pages long – compared to the UK, where the process includes a form of 16 pages, plus 24 pages of guidance notes, with several pieces of supporting evidence required on top.
Compared to two years minimum in the UK, you can change your gender in Ireland in just weeks.
Given the sweeping changes, which allow transgender people to gain legal recognition without seeing a doctor or requiring medical treatment, Lewis and co. would presumably expect all women’s toilets in Ireland to have been besieged by bearded penis-flashers.
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