Thousands urge MPs to act over Tory government’s ‘transphobic’ response to Scotland’s gender bill

A photo shows a trans activist wearing a pink cap holding a placard that says: "LGB with the T"

Thousands of people have emailed their MPs urging them to take action over the UK government’s response to Scotland’s planned reforms of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA).

In December 2022, the Scottish parliament passed reforms to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act to make obtaining Gender Recognition Certificates (GRCs) – which are used to update gender markers on legal documents – easier. 

The move was widely praised by the LGBTQ+ community, with many seeing the move as a pivotal moment in British trans rights. 

However, in response to these reforms, the UK government has announced a review of approved GRCs from 14 territories outside of England and Wales, including Canada, New Zealand and Australia.  

In a written statement on Monday (January 9), women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch said changes to GRA systems in other countries and territories “would not now be considered to have equivalently rigorous systems” to England and Wales. 

“It should not be possible for a person who would not satisfy the criteria to obtain UK legal gender recognition to use the overseas recognition route to obtain a UK Gender Recognition Certificate. 

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“This would damage the integrity and credibility of the process of the Gender Recognition Act,” the Cabinet minister added. 

LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall has called on its supporters to make personal pleas with their local MP to help support trans rights.

Kemi Badenoch walks across the streets of Number 10, wearing a black blazer.
Kemi Badenoch said the government would keep the overseas GRA recognition list “under review”. (Getty)

This statement comes as the government considers challenging the reforms passed in Scotland altogether. 

Stonewall slammed the move as a “disgraceful low” for the government and called it “unprecedented and spiteful attack on trans people”.

A spokesperson for Stonewall tells PinkNews: “Trans people from countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand have had their gender recognition certificates respected by the UK for years. 

“Seeking to end this system is an extraordinary move, not based on evidence or experience, that will effectively serve as a ‘trans travel ban.'”

In response, the charity has urged the public to write to their MPs and “tell the government that they are making a terrible mistake” using an online form on its website

At the time of publishing, almost 10,000 people had used the form to contact their MP.

The form enables constituents to send a pre-written email to their MP about the government’s plans. 

The email form was shared by the charity on Monday (January 9) and it hopes to reach 15,000 submissions.

Members of the public have taken action by emailing their MPs

Activist and public speaker Eva Echo emailed her local MP James Morris, Conservative MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, who she says has contacted numerous times about trans issues.

In this case, she decided to reach out to Mr Morris because of the “dark precedent” she believes the government’s move would set.

“I am not surprised by the amount of people contacting their MPs,” she tells PinkNews.

“The UK government’s move to stop recognition of GRCs from other countries is dangerous and sets a dark precedent for the oppression of human rights, not to mention impact our relationships with other countries.

“It’s a bold and clearly transphobic move, designed to counter the result of Scotland’s recent gender recognition reform but we must remember it’s a cowardly one too, in that the UK has accepted non-UK GRCs up till now and is therefore using a blanket ban to diminish the result from Scotland without saying as much.”

Eva Echo smiles at the camera while wearing a yellow and green patterned top with a screen in the background that reads 'The Wait For Trans Healthcare' in the colours of the trans Pride flag
Eva Echo has written to her own MP using Stonewall’s form (Instagram/evaech0)

Journalism student Amelia Hopkinson also reached out to her MP – Government Whip Amanda Solloway who represents Derby North.

The Derby University student said she decided to take action because she feels “ending recognition of GRCs would be a scary and incredibly backwards decision for the government to make”. 

“The issue matters to me as I’m a queer person myself and our fight is for equality for all and I would hate to see so many of my trans friends feel let down by this decision,” she added.

What has Stonewall said?

Robbie de Santos, director of communications and external affairs at Stonewall, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many Britons come out in support of trans rights by emailing their MP to challenge the UK Government’s plans to ending reciprocal recognition of Gender Recognition Certificates (GRCs) from countries that support trans people changing their legal gender using a self-determination model.

“With over 7,385 people having witting to their MP in the last day, the British public’s response to these cruel proposals show how out of touch plans for an effective ‘trans travel ban’ is with public opinion. We urge the UK Government to focus on developing and implementing a strategy that improves the lives of all LGBTQ+ people, not harming trans people even more.”

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