According to a spokesperson, the conservative UK government has “no plans” to allow the Welsh government to introduce the gender recognition reforms included in their LGBTQ+ Action Plan.
The new LGBTQ+ Action Plan was announced on Tuesday, February 7, in Wales and it contains a list of actions aimed at improving the lives of LGBTQ+ folks in the country. Among the pledges included in the plan were reforms to make legal gender recognition easier for trans people by introducing a self-declaration system.
The current legislation on gender recognition in the UK entails a lengthy and often invasive process for trans people, who need to provide a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, medical reports and evidence of having lived “in the acquired gender” for two years.
With the LGBTQ+ Action Plan, the Welsh government is seeking “the devolution of powers in relation to Gender Recognition” in order to introduce the reforms and better “support our trans community”. However, to seek the devolution of powers on gender recognition, the Welsh government’s Equality and Human Rights Division will have to negotiate with the UK government.
Trans people and their allies are gathering at Downing Street in London to protest against the continuing attacks on the rights of trans, non-binary and gender diverse people in the UK pic.twitter.com/pgQLl7HA1I
— openDemocracy 50.50 (@5050oD) August 6, 2021
Politically, it is very unlikely that the current conservative government will agree to transfer powers on matters of gender recognition, as evidenced by their recent actions against the Gender Recognition Reform bill introduced in Scotland, which would have introduced a self-declaration process in the country. Last month, for the first time in history, the UK government invoked Section 35 of the 1998 Scotland Act to stop the bill from becoming law.
This stance seems to be confirmed by what a spokesperson from the UK government’s Equalities Office told PinkNews. They started by saying: “Ensuring that LGBT people are treated equally is a priority for this government.”
Then they continued, “We share the concerns that others have set out with proposed reforms to the GRC application process, particularly around safety issues for women and children. As a result of this, there are no plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act in England or Wales.”
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