Gender Recognition Act Consultation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:38 am on 24th September 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities 10:38 am, 24th September 2020

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting this urgent question. After three years of toxic debate, it is deeply disappointing that the Government have let trans people down and dropped their plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act. The debate around reform of the Act has been intensely fought and has caused great harm to many. Trans people face daily discrimination and the average wait for a first appointment with a gender clinic is 18 months, so it is vital that steps are taken to tackle discrimination and provide the services and support that people need.

The delay in responding to this consultation is completely unacceptable. Can the Minister tell us why it took so long? She failed to answer my question yesterday on whether the three new clinics mentioned in her statement were new, and we now know that they are not. What steps will the Government take to reduce the waiting times radically for people to access gender clinics? What will the Minister do to ensure that all public bodies, including the Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, produce statutory guidance that is in keeping with the legislation?

The Government are to make changes to the administrative process for obtaining a gender recognition certificate. Can the Minister tell us what the new online process will look like, what the new fee will be and when it will come into force? What is the timeline for when this new process will go live? Will she commit to ensuring that she engages with stakeholders in developing it? What steps will she be taking to tackle the rise in transphobia and misogyny?

Labour is committed to equality and inclusion for trans people and will continue to support updating the GRA to include self-declaration for trans people. We are also proud to be the party of the Equality Act 2010, and we will uphold it, not least because it plays a vital role in ensuring that we are an inclusive society.