Recently, the government announced its intention to review, and ultimately renovate, the Gender Recognition Act, in a quest to make the transitioning process more accessible. Upon the Act’s implementation in 2005, it seemed to signal a poignant landmark, providing increased opportunities for trans people to choose their gender, setting in motion the overarching goal for a more content, and tolerant, society. Yet, the government seem to be striving to improve this law further and, whilst the discussions themselves may solely serve to propel this area into the limelight, and potentially contribute to increased support, the consultation also suggests gender transition may be amongst the top priorities for the government. As such, they may ultimately be contributing to reducing the intrusive aspect of the law, elevating the ease for people to transition, and therefore steering Britain one step closer to equality.
When introduced, the act seemed to provide a wider scope for people to transition, and seemed to offer revolutionary opportunities. The law stated to be legally recognised, a certificate needed to be obtained, awarded by a recognition panel, and this seems to be the key focal point for alteration, as the complex nature of the system, when coupled with the length of time needed to obtain the necessary evidence, may have led to a vast array of people opting to remain with their current gender. With perhaps a large portion of those affected by the desire to alter themselves, confidence seems to be a key instigator in commencing the transitional phase and, with these alterations potentially enabling a boost in this, the importance of these debates seems to have been highlighted further.
The movement to renovate the act seems to have amassed a strong support group, with multiple established and high-ranking influencers voicing their desires to contribute to the change. Amongst these seems to be Ruth Hunt who, as Chief Executive of Stonewall, seems to possess a vast array of experience in the area, and her knowledge, coupled alongside her gravitas and public speaking prowess, traits which naturally seemed to enable her to become spokesperson, may hold her in good stead to influence proceedings. Her continuous advocacy of LGBT rights may have also enabled her to amass a large following, and utilising this support network may be key in expanding the reach of the movement, and ultimately ensuring its implementation.
Updating the act suggests Britain may be building on the foundations which may have already been laid with the act itself. The public seem to have already vocalised their support for the new plans, with social media often utilised to both voice their promotion of the plans and expand the breadth of people who may hear about the movement. In encouraging people to adopt a similar viewpoint, it may lead to an influx of people transitioning who perhaps may have been unable to prior due to the complexity of the laws. Their support may also be a contributing factor in politicians involving themselves in the cause, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, perhaps aiming to elevate his quest for number 10, striving to attain voters by boasting a similar viewpoint, a stance which may be similarly replicated by other MPs.
With the discussion dates scheduled for autumn, this period may be most significantly utilised by advocates for the reform, as whilst the involvement of Ruth Hunt and other influencers may have enhanced the credibility of the movement, it seems the catalyst in change may be public opinion, and the level of support which may be attained. Yet, the government’s aims to renovate the law seems to be suggesting they may be supportive of creating opportunities for all to be content and comfortable with themselves, short-term enabling an influx of people to utilise the innovation to achieve their overall goal for themselves, whilst most pivotally long-term contributing to a more tolerant and accepting society. Striving to influence these laws may therefore be one step closer to achieving equality, and with the proposals occurring 50 years after the reform surrounding homosexual laws in 1967, the announcement seems to showcase the advancements Britain has made, with an inclusive society perhaps rapidly approaching.
How may consulting the Gender Recognition Act ultimately enhance the LGBT cause?