Labour and the Liberal Democrats have underlined their continued support for reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, accusing Tory equalities minister Liz Truss of failing the trans community.
After reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) were officially scrapped by Truss Tuesday morning (September 22), Truss and the government were accused of “playing games” with and “letting down” trans people by her opposites numbers in the Lib Dems and Labour respectively.
Instead of “streamlining and de-medicalising” the GRA, as then-prime minister Theresa May promised in 2017, the government will instead simply digitise the process, and reduce the £140 fee to a “nominal amount”, ignoring strong public backing for reform evidenced in an open consultation.
Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, noted that in dragging the issue out over three years, the government invited a “toxic debate” that has seen trans lives attacked relentlessly.
“After three years of toxic debate, it is deeply disappointing that the government have let trans people down at the last minute,” de Cordova said in a statement to PinkNews.
“Trans people face daily discrimination and it is vital that steps are taken to tackle discrimination and provide the services and support people need.”
We continue to support updating the Gender Recognition Act to introduce self-declaration for trans people.
Labour is determined to introducing self-identification for trans people, de Cordova confirmed.
“Labour is committed to equality and inclusion for trans people and we continue to support updating the Gender Recognition Act to introduce self-declaration for trans people,” she wrote.
“We are also proud to be the party of the Equality Act which plays a vital role in ensuring we are an inclusive society.”
Lib Dems ‘incredibly disappointed’ by Tory GRA decision.
The Liberal Democrats’ equalities spokesperson Wera Hobhouse shared a similar message of disappointment.
“Far too many trans and non-binary people are the victims of discrimination, harassment and hate crimes,” she said in a statement.
“The rates of suicide and self-harm are heart-breaking. It is clear that action is needed to protect the rights, dignity and wellbeing of trans and non-binary people – and making it easier for them to obtain legal recognition of their gender identity is an important part of that.
“It is therefore incredibly disappointing that, after stirring up three years of toxic debate, the Conservatives have now abandoned their plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act.
“Unlike the Tories, Liberal Democrats will not play political games with individuals’ rights and people’s lives. We will always stand up for equality and human rights for all, and work to end discrimination and abuse throughout society.”
LGBT+ charities have expressed sadness that the government has backtracked on its pledge to reform the GRA, though stressed the changes that are to be made are welcome ones.
Mermaids, the trans youth charity, said it was particularly relieved that Truss has not moved forward with plans to exclude trans people from single-sex spaces, as was heavily rumoured over the summer.