Last month the equalities minister, Liz Truss, announced that some reforms to the Gender Recognition Act would go ahead but one key aspect – allowing trans people to self-identify without a medical diagnosis – would not be adopted. The issue has divided ‘gender critical’ feminists from those who are more trans-inclusive. Is there a route to reconciliation?
Yesterday we told the story of how legal battles fought by committed campaigners, such as Stephen Whittle, helped establish transgender rights in the UK. The 2004 Gender Recognition Act (GRA) formalised them in a single act of parliament, but in recent years campaigners have pushed for an expansion of those rights. Last month the equalities minister, Liz Truss, brought forward the government’s proposed changes to the GRA. They included cutting the costs associated with legal transition and a commitment to open new gender clinics. However, the government said it would not be adopting a right of self-declaration for trans people without a medical diagnosis.
Joining Anushka Asthana to discuss the issue are the feminist author Finn Mackay, who believes that while feminist divisions over trans rights are not new, they need not be inevitable, and Kathleen Stock, a philosophy professor who describes herself as “gender critical” and argues that gender identity should not be placed on an equal footing with biological sex when considering changes to the law. Mridul Wadhwa tells Anushka that as a trans woman working in a rape crisis centre, she has seen up close the importance of providing tailored services to women of all backgrounds. The Guardian’s Libby Brooks has been reporting on countries that have allowed trans people to self-declare their legal gender. She says that in the case of Ireland, the changes were introduced without the toxic debate that has grown around the issue in the UK.
Audio | The Guardian
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