Wales to make gender recognition easier for trans people with new LGBTQ+ action plan

Welsh Government launched it's LGBTQ+ Action Plan

Wales has announced its plan to become the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe – and that includes making things easier for trans people to legally change their gender.

The Welsh Government launched its LGBTQ+ Action Plan on Monday (6 February) at the St Fagan’s Museum in Cardiff.

Following Scotland’s lead, the plan includes triggering a request from the UK government for Wales to take control of gender recognition laws for trans and non-binary people in Wales.

Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, previously stated he supports Scotland’s gender self-identifying system, which was blocked from Royal ascent by the UK government, and would welcome a similar system in Wales.

Drakeford’s comments were recently backed by Wales’ finance minister, Vaughan Gething.

The Action Plan, which was first introduced back in 2021 in draft format, has been a plan with “hope at its heart” with a goal of Wales becoming the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe.

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It comes just weeks after a Cardiff drag queen was found dead in the city centre of the Welsh capital. A man has been arrested on manslaughter charges.

The Action Plan includes a wide range of policy-specific actions from improving safety, education, housing, health and social care, to promoting community cohesion and more.

It also shows a clear commitment to defending and promoting the rights and dignity of trans and non-binary people.

‘LGBTQ+ communities remain under attack’

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership in Wales, Hannah Blythyn – who was joined by leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price – said it was the first time existing commitments had been brought together to set bold and realistic goals towards an inclusive society.

“We have come a long way in the past few decades, but we cannot be complacent. Progress can and never should be taken for granted. LGBTQ+ communities remain under attack, with our hard-fought-for rights at risk of being rolled back around the world, including here in the UK,” Blythyn said.

“The plan is ambitious but with hope at its heart. We are absolutely committed to meaningful change for LGBTQ+ communities, creating a society and country where LGBTQ+ people are safe to live and love authentically, openly and freely as ourselves.”

Adam Price speaking at the PinkNews Cardiff Summer Reception
Adam Price commended the plan as a cross-working effort from various political parties in Wales (Jon Pountne)

To mark the publication of the Plan, the politicians – who are open members of the LGBTQ+ community themselves – visited the Pride & Protest exhibition at St Fagans National Museum of History, which includes protest banners and LGBTQ+ campaign badges from Amgueddfa Cymru’s collection of objects from Pride events across Wales.

Adam Price, Britain’s only openly LGBTQ+ political leader, said the plan is a perfect example of how the political parties in Wales are working together to improve LGBTQ+ people’s lives.

“The fact that this plan has been jointly developed by parties whose Members make up two thirds of our national parliament provides a strong basis on which to bring the Plan’s commitments to life as practical actions on the ground in our communities,” he said.

“Tackling all forms of injustice is essential and together we can create a fairer society, promoting the rights of everyone in the LGBTQ+ community,” he added.

‘We should not become complacent’

The Welsh Government has worked with a wide range of LGBTQ+ communities and organisations to help develop the LGBTQ+ Action Plan, and it will act as the basis for developing future policy along with partners.

Davinia Green, the director of Stonwall Cymru, said she welcomes the Action Plan but urges people to “not become complacent.”

“If Wales is to become the leading nation in Europe on LGBTQ+ rights, tackling increasing hate crime, supporting inclusive RSE curriculum and removing healthcare barriers will be particularly important,” she said.

In February 2022, two men and a teenage girl were found guilty of murdering Dr Gary Jenkins in a horrific homophobic attack at a Cardiff park.

“I welcome the LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales. It is a clear and positive commitment, particularly important when hard-won LGBTQ+ rights are being challenged,” she added.

“This is an important part of the journey to creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive society here in Wales, but not the end conclusion. We should not become complacent.”