Sajid Javid urges public to take part in ‘historic’ Gender Recognition Act consultation

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called on everyone to take part in the public consultation on the government’s reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) before it closes at 11pm on Friday (October 19).

Proposed changes to the GRA would make it easier for transgender people to legally change their gender.

Speaking to PinkNews at the PinkNews Awards on Wednesday (October 17), Javid said this was a “historic moment for the country.

“We are taking some really positive steps forward,” he continued, “and I think the more people who take part in consultations like that, and particularly this one—and it’s about to close—that it really helps to get any changes that are made right.”

The cabinet minister, who was appointed in April following Amber Rudd’s resignation, added that “the government is determined to look at this seriously, and the more people who take part, the more it helps.”

In his speech to the audience at Church House in central London, Javid vowed to rid the country of anti-LGBT abuse “once and for all.”

He said that “no-one, whether gay, straight lesbian, transgender or bisexual should have to live in fear.”

Sajid Javid at the PinkNews Awards 2018 (Paul Grace)

Referring to the national LGBT+ survey undertaken by the government this year, which found that two-thirds of gay couples were afraid to hold hands in public, he added: “Everyone should have the confidence to be able to report hate crimes and know that it will be taken seriously.

“And in modern Britain, we should all be free to express ourselves in the way we want without hesitation. So we are acting on this, and we want to phase out this abuse once and for all.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 03: Home Secretary Sajid Javid arrives at Downing Street ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting on July 3, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Javid has been an MP since 2010 (Dan Kitwood/Getty)

“Earlier this year, the government set out its LGBT action plan and supported £4.5 million in new funding, and yesterday I published a refreshed hate crime action plan.”

He promised that this plan would “improve the response to victims by improving police spending and examining services” and provide “more funding to combat homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying in our schools and a review of hate crime legislation by the law commission to see what further changes we need to make in our laws.

Javid then handed out the Campaigner of the Year award to all the activists who made the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India possible.

Home Secretary Sajid David presents Indian-born campaigners Subodh Rathod and Niranjan Kamatkar with the award for Campaigner of the Year at the 2018 PinkNews Awards (Paul Grace)

Attendees also saw awards handed out to the best advertising campaign, public and third sector organisations and politician of the year, as well as the Lifetime Achievement award given to LGBT+ charity Stonewall.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable were also present at the event, along with Celebrity Big Brother winner Shane Jenek, singer and PinkNews Broadcast Award winner Will Young and BBC broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, among other stars.