Government delay in responding to Transgender Equality report

    • 105 posts
    May 9, 2016 5:51 PM BST

    In January this year, the Women's and Equality Committee published their report 'Transgender Equality' (HC390).  It called for some quite radical reforms to the way that Government and public services interact with the transgender community.

    Since then there has been a deafening silence from the Government, until today.

    I'd love to think that this was a positive thing - "Wow, there's so much stuff here to think about, and it's so important to get it right, that we're going to need a while longer to make it all happen'.

    Sadly experience leads me to believe it's more probably 'Four months down the line, and this hasn't gone away. Let's try a few more months and see if that does it'.

    One of those occasions when I'd dearly love to be proven wrong.


    Judith x

    This post was edited by Judith Harmon at May 9, 2016 5:55 PM BST
    • 105 posts
    July 8, 2016 11:44 PM BST

    ... and some months on, the Government's response has finally been published:

    To say I'm disappointed would be to pretend that I had real hope that the reasoned and compelling points raised by January's report, and the recommendations arising from them, would lead to genuine actions on the part of the Government. So no, I'm not disappointed.

    I am however angry at so many platitudes, mixed together with 'taking under consideration', 'seeking to gather more evidence' and downright denial of the realities of transgender experience in the 21st century.

    In particular, it's apparent that the Government is determined that the gender binary will continue to be the only acknowledged narrative for the foreseeable future, and that the only protection under the law for non-binary and non-conforming gender identities will be if we're 'mistaken' for 'real' transgender people, which is to say those transitioning from male-to-female or vice versa.

    They say that good things come to those who wait.

    Not today.




    • 146 posts
    July 10, 2016 10:54 AM BST

    Thanks Judith for this Posting.I think you make a very valid point in saying that as far as government is concerned protection is only framed around the model of individuals registering officially as 'real' transgender people which is to say those transitioning from male to female and vice versa.In context I think this really means governement draws a line based on individuals who have made this official registering of themselves as Transgendered, and will only make NHS Funding based on figures.This is why the Media and government will officially use the figure 1 in 10 thousand as being Transgendered.I agree the Governemnt policy falls short in this approach , which inevitably will only cover those who have officially declared themselves as TG, and by default everyone else is considered Binary .

    I take the language 'taking under consideration' to mean a tacit acknowledgement that these policies do NOT help the many Transgendered people who have not officially declared themselves as TG , and who may well through circumstances never feel that they can make that declaration to the wider society which is to say that they feel discriminated against but just have to put up with it.

    I like the fact that you use the phrase"realities of transgender experience in the 21st Century".For me one of the realities is that it may be the 21st Century , and much of Alvin Toppflers Future Shock,Third wave  predictions are evident , but the everyday people I know still carry  the old social programming , and just admit that they find a difficulty understanding all this . This report just reminds me that Societies have a lot of Inertia, and that progress is slow. Its also a reminder that on a practical level as a TG you have to make the most of your life and make your own way, goverments are slow to follow.

    • 105 posts
    July 11, 2016 6:12 PM BST

    Hi Donna

    Thank you for your thoughtful replyyour point relating to societal inertia is well taken; the key, in my view, to overcoming this inertia and driving change lies in subverting the accepted narratives that 'everyone knows are true'.

    In the 20th century, the generally accepted credo was that there were two sexes, and you could tell which one you were by checking your anatomy. If you disagreed with what that check told you, you were mentally ill. As time went on, this world view was expanded to include 'sex-changes' where people could have surgery to change their anatomy to that of the opposite sex. This was all rather shocking, and not approved of at all by the popular press. Some second wave feminists weren't too keen either.

    As more and more people had the courage to be open about their gender identities, and their experiences, the narrative adapted to include 'man/woman born in wrong body, hormones/surgery correct mistake, happy ending'. The next great leap forward will come when the accepted world-view recognises the equally valid gender identities of people who identify as both male and female, or as neither; the gender-fluid, genderqueer, two-spirited, neutrois and agender members of our transgender family. The world also needs to understand, and accept, intersex people whose gender identity may be complicated by incongruent physiology.

    To achieve this change in narrative, we need visibility from non-binary and gender-nonconforming people, and that's where the Government's latest stance is so unhelpful. It's much more difficult to be visible and authentic in one's gender identity when the Government of the day is sending a message that the protections for 'transgender people' don't apply to you - unless someone attacks you because they (mistakenly) think you're transtioning from male to female, or vice versa.

    It'll come; there'll be a genderfluid Caitlyn Jenner, or a neutrois Laverne Cox or ... well, your guess is as good as minebut I believe it would have come quicker, and more comfortably, if the excellent recommendations of Maria Miller and her committee had been taken just a little bit more seriously.