Kemi Badenoch confirms UK ‘blacklist’ for countries that allow trans self-ID

Trans foreign nationals applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) after moving to Britain from certain countries will now have to provide medical reports, after some nations changed their laws – meaning their legislation is no longer seen to be as “rigorous” as the UK’s.

Addressing the House of Commons on Wednesday (6 December), women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has told MPs an update to the UK’s approved list of countries and territories is “long overdue”, after it was last revised in 2011. 

The announcement follows leaks on Monday (4 December) that claimed the government has drawn up a blacklist of more than 50 countries which let people transition “too easily”. 

Badenoch said: “It is this government’s policy that the UK does not recognise self-identification for the purpose of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate.

“However, this government is determined that everyone should be able to live their lives free from unfair discrimination.”  

The list was being updated because some countries and territories have made changes to their own legal gender transition systems and would “now not be considered to have similarly rigorous systems as the UK”, she added. 

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“It should not be possible for a person who does not satisfy the criteria for UK legal gender recognition to use the overseas routes to do so.”

There needs to be “parity” with UK applicants, the minister, who is also the business and trade secretary, went on to say. 

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This means countries which have approved self-ID will be on a blacklist. 

As it stands, a trans migrant whose gender is legally recognised in their country of origin – and whose country is on the UK’s approved list – does not need to provide medical reports when applying for gender recognition in Britain. 

If that country is not listed, or the migrant does not have a legal document showing gender recognition, they have to provide additional documents to apply for a GRC in the UK. 

Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s shadow equalities minister, questioned the diplomacy of the decision and whether there had been any bilateral discussions with other governments: 

“I note for example that China is now on the approved list but not our four closest Five Eyes allies,” Dodds said. 

The Five Eyes Alliance is made up of the UK, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Badenoch replied that the move was not “virtue signalling… countries we like or don’t like”. 

It is instead “about whether another country’s system meets our guidelines”, she said.

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