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Individuals to self-identify gender under new government proposals

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Individuals will be able to self-identify their gender, under new government proposals.

The government is to review the Gender Recognition Act 2004, to remove the need for an individual to have lived for two years as their desired gender before acquiring a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

A consultation on the Gender Recognition bill, which will be published this autumn, will also suggest 'demedicalising' gender identity, by removing the requirement for an individual to be diagnosed with 'gender dysphoria', before applying to 'change' their gender.

Both the Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have spoken in support of the plans.

'Streamline and demedicalise' gender identity

The consultation will also address the possibility of a 'Gender X' option on passports, for individuals who identify as 'non-binary'.

Education Secretary Justine Greening commented: "We will build on the significant progress we have made over the past 50 years, tackling some of the historic prejudices that still persist in our laws and giving LGBT people a real say on the issues affecting them," she said.

She said that ministers want to "streamline and demedicalise" the process of 'changing' gender.

Radical LGBT push

The government's announcement is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Act to partially decriminalise homosexuality.

As well as the proposals on gender identity, Ms. Greening said that the government plans to allow men who have sex with men to wait only three months before donating blood.

She also said that the Church of England should "keep up with modern society" by allowing same-sex 'marriages' to take place in its churches.

Women at risk

Some have raised concerns that if the plans were to be pushed through, women's safety would be put at risk.

In an open letter to Ms. Greening, Rev David Robertson of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity emphasised that women in places such as prisons, hospital wards and crisis centres would no longer be properly protected. He also highlighted that being able to self-determine gender would make a mockery of women's sports teams.

'The law is there to protect us'

Mary Douglas, a board member for activist group Grassroots Conservatives, spoke to Radio 4 about her concerns about the plans.

"It should not be easy to do something as massive as change your gender," she said. "The law is there to protect us, normally from other people but also sometimes from ourselves."

She highlighted that 'changing' gender often does not solve other mental health conditions experienced by the individual, such as depression.

Using the example of an individual with anorexia, she said: "It is not respectful or loving to affirm that person in a belief that is false and doesn't [line up] with reality."

She concluded: "The issue is one of identity…. If we have abandoned our Christian roots, then we have lost any sense of who we are."

'Legalised lying'

Journalist Melanie Phillips also criticised the proposals, saying: "All that will be needed in future is for a man to say he is now a woman and vice versa for their birth certificate to be changed.

"Such a birth certificate will thus be a lie. For whether or not the person should be recognised as having changed sex now, he or she was born a girl or a boy. This Conservative government – conservative! – will thus be putting legalised lying onto the statute book."

In a previous article for the Spectator which was republished this week, Ms. Phillips added:

"Gender cannot be at real risk because it is anchored in an immutable reality. What is on the cards is oppression, socially engineered dysfunction and the loss of individual freedom. And it is so-called Conservative politicians who are helping wave the red flag of revolution."


Related Links: 
Adults to be able to change gender without doctor (Premier)
Individuals to self-identify their gender under new Government plans (Politics Home)
It's time to accept same-sex marriages, Justine Greening tells the Church (Daily Mail)