Crucial reforms to allow trans people to self-identify expected to be delayed indefinitely

Capping a dispiriting time for trans Britons, crucial legislative reforms which would have made it smoother for people to change their gender legally have been shelved, an insider told the i newspaper.

Architects drawing up reforms to the Gender Recognition Act no longer anticipate them being enacted by government, the source claimed, following a drawn-out battle steeped in transphobic vitriol from some lawmakers and anti-trans groups determined to stymie reforms.

“Boris Johnson just doesn’t want that fight,” the source said.

“We just won’t talk about it. If anyone asks the response will be: ‘We’re thinking about it’.”

Predicted postponement of GRA reforms has nothing to do with coronavirus pandemic, source claims. 

A Government Equalities Office spokesperson stressed to PinkNews that, nevertheless, “proposed next steps” will be announced in “due course”, a played-out track from previous equalities ministers.

Moreover, while the source stressed that the shelving of the reforms have little to do with the current coronavirus pandemic, the allegation mirrors Scotland.

Anti-trans 'concerns' over puberty blockers have reached Sweden

A participant holds a sign saying “Trans and Proud” during the Glasgow Pride. (Robert Perry/Getty Images)

Where GRA reforms are similarly expected to be put on hold as Holyrood braces to spend huge swathes of time dealing with the virus.

A Government Equalities Office spokesperson said: “It is vital that the next steps on any potential reform of the Gender Recognition Act are carefully planned, and have the right backing.

“We had more than 100,000 responses to our consultation, and will announce more details on our proposed next steps in due course.”

What are the Gender Recognition Act reforms?

An opportunity to reform policy that governs the lives of trans folk was the success of tireless campaigning from LGBT+ advocacy groups and people.

But its results seem to grow further away with each passing day, activists say.

Former prime minister Theresa May announced that the Gender Recognition Act  – the bedrock of gender recognition law in the UK – will be reformed in a PinkNews article in 2017.

The public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act was answered by over 100,000 people. (Conatus News)

Currently, trans people must prove they have lived in their gender for two years and have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, after which their application for a Gender Recognition Certificate is approved – or refused – by a panel of people who don’t meet them.

This would bring the process of changing the gender marker on a birth certificate more in line with the way it is changed on other official ID documents, like passports and driving licenses.

Former defence secretary and then equalities minister Penny Mordaunt confirmed to PinkNews in July, 2019, that the results of the consultation would be announced: “As soon as possible.”

However, a concurrent chain of delays has pelted the policy reform alongside bubbling backlash from anti-trans groups.

Equalities minsters, however, have stressed commitment to following through with the reform.