Gender identity: What do legal changes have to do with women’s rights?

Trans activists have welcomed moves from the government to “streamline and de-medicalise the process” of changing legal gender. But some women are worried about the potential impact on their own legal rights.

Today, anyone who wants to legally change their gender in the UK has to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Many don’t though, because they feel the lengthy process is invasive and demeaning.

In order to qualify, trans people do not need to have had surgery but must have lived for two years in their preferred gender and have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria – distress caused by a mismatch between biological sex and gender identity.

One way to simplify things for trans men and women would be to allow individuals to self-declare the gender in which they choose to live, without the need for medical evidence or proof. That’s what the government has now put out to consultation.

But the idea has been met with anger and shock in some forums including parenting website Mumsnet, where the latest in a series of threads attracted more than 1,000 comments in two days.

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