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LGBT+ Rights: My Email to Alex Chalk MP on reforming the GRA 2004

Liz Truss MP, current Women and Equalities Minister

The following text was sent to Alex Chalk to protest against Elizabeth Truss MP’s dangerous and unhelpful proposals for reforming the Gender Recognition Act of 2004. If you are a UK Consitutent, I urge you as strongly as possible to write to your MP and protest this, for the good of the many vulnerable people in the LGBT+ community who will be affected by these policy changes.

Dear Alex Chalk MP,

I hope this letter find you safe in good health.

I’m writing to you regarding the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) and the need to protect trans, non-binary, and intersex young people. I write in my official capacity as Membership Officer for the Young Greens in Cheltenham, as well as an informal capacity as a non-binary constituent of Cheltenham.

Whilst we can both agree that the proposal of a timescale for GRA reform to be implemented is well overdue, I find myself deeply concerned by recent remarks by your colleague Elizabeth Truss MP to the Women and Equalities Select Committee.

Her statements seem, unfortunately, very muddled and contradictory – especially in that “making sure that transgender adults are free to live their lives as they wish without fear of persecution” is entirely contradicted by the idea of “the protection of single-sex spaces”. This issue has been utilised by transphobic groups for decades as a means of alienating and persecuting transgender people – and further regresses the issue by refusing to acknowledge non-binary and intersex individuals.

As a career lawyer, you are no doubt aware of the terms “Gillick Competency” and “Fraser Guidelines”, as pertaining to the rights of young adults to autonomy over their own bodies (specifically, in consenting to contraceptive advice and treatment). Elizabeth Truss claims to want to prevent young transgender adults from making “irreversible decisions”, but as you well know, precedents such as those set by Lord Fraser already exist to put decision-making abilities – and the consequences thereof – into the hands of the young adults themselves. Why take such agency away from them, especially when recent NHS studies show that those who experience gender affirmation surgeries are extremely unlikely to experience regret?

As a result of implementing policy reform, what restrictions would Truss intend to apply to trans access to transition healthcare before the age of 18? Is she aware that these medical interventions are often lifesaving for vulnerable teenagers? Would she stop trans teens accessing hormone blockers? Would trans teens be able to access transition healthcare provided they do not take so-called ‘irreversible steps’?

Furthermore, is this policy a sign the government agrees with TERFs and the anti-trans LGB Alliance who represent fringe, transphobic views? Why has the government pursued this policy rather than one the vast majority of LGBT+ people would support? Were members of the community consulted in the formation of the policy at all, or is this being prescribed by someone who has no experience of the issues they face?

Lastly – you may not be aware that the UN Human Rights Commissioner has instructed that states do not use the coronavirus period to roll back LGBT+ rights. She singled out Hungary which has attacked trans people’s rights to legal transition during the pandemic for criticism. Therefore is now the right time to proceed with this policy?

As my MP,I hope you are committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in a way that supports all transgender and non-binary people, and to providing access to services and treatments which are proven to improve the lives of transgender children.

I attach a copy of the recent NHS study referred to above, and a briefing on GRA Reform from the organisation Gendered Intelligence.

I also urge you to contact the Women and Equalities Minister, on my behalf as one of your constituents and ask her to clarify her recent comments.

Please respond to me and let me know how you are doing this.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Saul

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