MPs have criticised the government’s response to its consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004.

A cross-party Women and Equalities Committee said the 17 year old Act is no longer fit for purpose and is confusing for employers and service providers. 

The committee wants clarity around the subject, but mainly it wants transgender rights to be strengthened within the law.

MPs were scathing about the government taking two years to create a report on the subject yet say it has left a gender recognition process which is unfair and overly medicalised.

For HR, the issues remain the same; they must ensure they are educated on gender identity and trans rights and their policies are updated to reflect an equal workplace. 

 

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, commented on the government’s GRA saying it is outdated:

“The Government took nearly two years to respond to the consultation on an Act that was written at the turn of the millennium. The GRA is crying out for modernisation, and the Government has spectacularly missed its opportunity. This is an area of reform which has attracted strong opinions and debate, but there are areas- such as the removal a time period for living in an acquired gender- which many can agree on. The Government’s failure to implement even these changes- made clear in its consultation- suggest its lack of willingness to engage.”

 

“Being trans is not an illness”

She criticised the government for having included a gender dysphoria diagnosis in its response:

“Being trans is not an illness. It is imperative that the Government de-medicalise the process of gender recognition by removing the outdated requirement for a gender dysphoria diagnosis. The current response to the 2018 consultation has amounted to little more than administrative changes. We are now calling on the Government to enact real, meaningful change.”

People who are transgender are protected under the Equality Act 2010 and for those who have a GRC or gender recognition certificate there are added protections, which includes protection against discrimination. 

 

Urgent reforms

The cross-party Women and Equalities Committee is calling for urgent reforms to be made to the Act, which, if accepted by the government, would need to be implemented in the workplace. 

The committee says there needs to be consistency between the GRA and the 2010 Equality Act, to ensure employers, service providers and sports bodies can operate with confidence within the law.  

Among a number of reforms, the Committee is calling on the Government to develop a specific healthcare strategy for transgender and non-binary people. This includes training for GPs around treating trans and non-binary patients and improved access to support services.