Sadiq Khan and Labour mayors urge government to hurry gender reforms

Sadiq Khan waving, wearing an "LGBTQ ally" t-shirt

The mayors of London, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield have called on the government to press ahead with reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) and allow trans and non-binary to determine their own gender identity.

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London wrote an open letter to Minister for Women and Equality Penny Mordaunt, co-signed by Manchesters’s Andy Burnham, Liverpool’s Steve Rotherham and Sheffield’s Dan Jarvis.

The four Labour politicians told Mordaunt that “desperately-needed reforms” to the GRA—including provisions for self-identification—must be implemented “as quickly as possible” to empower the trans community.

“The GRA was a groundbreaking piece of legislation when first introduced which has provided some trans people with the fundamental right for their gender identity to be recognised in the eyes of the law,” read the letter, dated Thursday (July 18).

“However, the act is now outdated and in urgent need of reform to ensure that it is accessible and delivers on the promises we made to our trans communities in 2004.”

Labour mayors call for gender self-ID

The mayors referred to government figures which estimate that just 12 percent of trans people have a gender recognition certificate, despite 92 percent telling the 2018 National LGBT Survey that they would be interested in one.

“GRA reform is a key step in addressing the marginalisation of trans and non-binary communities, by allowing them to more easily gain legal recognition of their gender identity,” the letter continued.

Noting that the government “has made commitments to ‘streamline and demedicalise’ the gender recognition process,” the mayors called on the government to bring the UK in line with Ireland, Denmark and Norway—countries which have already introduced self-ID.

GRA reform is a key step in addressing the marginalisation of trans and non-binary communities.

“We are currently lagging behind the progress made by countries around the world in terms of legal equality for trans and non-binary people,” they added.

“It is time listen to the voices of our trans and non-binary communities, and proceed with reforming this legislation to ensure that it benefits the communities it was intended to support.”

The LGBT Foundation’s chief executive Paul Martin said that he was “delighted” at the mayors’ joint statement.

“In these turbulent political times, it can be easy to forget that the everyday business of government must continue,” Martin said in a statement.

“We look forward to the upcoming announcement, and call on the government to allow trans people to legally change their gender by self-declaration, introduce legal recognition for non-binary people, and improve inclusion for young trans people.”

Penny Mordaunt says gender reforms coming soon

The letter comes after the Scottish government postponed its own planned gender reforms until later in the year.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, the SNP equalities secretary, confirmed on June 20 that the Scottish government remains committed to introducing self-ID, but told PinkNews that the reforms will not extend legal recognition to non-binary people.

Penny Mordaunt at the PinkNews Westminster reception.

On July 4, Mordaunt confirmed that an announcement on England and Wales’ gender laws will be “out the door in the next few weeks.”

Speaking at the PinkNews summer reception, she said that the government would publish both the results of the public consultation on the GRA as well as the planned response.