NEWS
14/06/2020 11:01 BST | Updated 14/06/2020 12:25 BST

Amnesty International Calls Government U-Turn On Trans Self-ID Plans 'Extremely Worrying'

Measures enabling trans people to change their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis are to be scrapped by Boris Johnson.

A leading human rights organisation has described government plans to scrap proposed legislation that would allow trans people to change their legal gender via self-identification as “extremely worrying”. 

Measures drawn up under Theresa May’s government to enable trans people change their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis have been ditched by Boris Johnson’s government, according to The Sunday Times.

In the wake of the news, human rights charity Amnesty International said the U-turn would “send a chilling message that the UK is a hostile place for trans people” and send the nation plummeting down the LGBTQ equality rankings. 

The organisation’s Women’s Rights programme director Chiara Capraro said: “Reports that the government intends to scrap plans to bring gender recognition laws in line with human rights standards are extremely worrying.

“More than two years ago, the government rightly set out a plan to reform the out-of-date Gender Recognition Act - a U-turn on this would send a chilling message that the UK is a hostile place for trans people.

“Perpetuating wrong stereotypes of trans women as a danger to other women is dehumanising and wrong, and risks further inciting hate crimes against trans people.

“The UK is already slipping further and further down the European rankings for LGBT equality - falling from 3rd to 9th place over the past three years. The proposed move would no doubt see the UK plummet even further.    

“The UK has always prided itself on being a champion of LGBT equality – if it’s serious about this, it will update the Gender Recognition Act to ensure trans people can enjoy their rights, free from discrimination.”

The BBC reported in June 2019 that hate crimes against trans people had risen by 81% in the space of a year in England, Scotland and Wales.

A study conducted by Stonewall in 2018, which surveyed more than 800 trans and non-binary people in the UK, found that half of trans people had hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination

The Sunday Times also reported that ministers plan to announce a ban on “gay cure” therapies, in what was described as an attempt to placate LGBTQ campaigners.

At the same time, the government was said to be preparing to set out new safeguards to “protect” female-only spaces, including refuges and public toilets.

The details were said to be contained in a leaked paper setting out the Government’s long-delayed response to a public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act.

The Sunday Times said that the paper was “basically ready” and was being slated for publication by the equalities minister Liz Truss at the end of July before MPs break for the summer.

A No 10 source told the PA news agency that the details of the response were yet to be finalised, and the Prime Minister would have the final say on the recommendations.

According to The Sunday Times, around 100,000 responses to the public consultation were received – with around 70% in favour of allowing people to self-identify as a man or a woman.

However, officials were said to believe that the results had been “skewed” by an “avalanche” of responses generated by trans rights groups.

Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Thousands of transgender people and their supporters take part in London's first ever Trans Pride march in September 2019. 

The paper quoted a source as saying: “In terms of changing what is on your birth certificate, you will still need to have proper medical approval.

“And you’re not going to be able to march in and find a hippie quack doctor who is willing to say you’re a woman. That’s not going to happen.”

The source added: “There will be big moves on safe spaces and women-only toilets and and a total ban on ‘gay cure’ therapies.”

A Government Equalities Office spokesperson said: “We will publish our response to our consultation on the Gender Recognition Act this summer.

“The Minister for Women and Equalities has also made clear that she will be bringing forward plans to end conversion therapy shortly.”