Critics of the Tories are rightfully accusing them of using trans people as political weapons, meaning that they are pushing the “trans agenda” to the forefront of the press to gain political support. This has become clear with the recent blocking of the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill.
In my opinion, the Tories are distracting Brits from more pressing issues, which they know they cannot defend themselves on as they have failed to address them in policy-making.
Those issues include Brexit, education, climate change, the recovery from Covid-19, and healthcare. Brexit has brought on multiple challenges for the country to deal with such as trade disruptions, a broken immigration system, and a shortened labour supply, especially in hospitality and administration. In education, there are growing concerns over the quality, funding and fairness of British schooling and teachers are going on strike. In regard to climate change, there is still the challenge of rising sea levels which pose a threat to the British coasts, as well as the livelihood of millions around the world living on islands, which British emissions are directly affecting. There is also the challenge of hot summers and dry winters that threatens British farming and food production, which the Tories fail to create a solution or plan for. Since the poorly handled Covid-19 pandemic, the recovery has also highlighted the rising economic inequalities and the cracks in the healthcare system, with rail workers and nurses recently going on strike.
Instead, the Tories are focusing on trans people. Why? Because they can, and they have very few other options to convince the public to back them.
Why you should care
Rather than use the trans agenda as an opportunity to advance their own conservative ideology, the Tory Party has to face the problems which pose an actual threat to the quality of life of Britain. It is time for Rishi Sunak to step up and lead the nation with integrity, all members of society, regardless of their gender identity.
Transgender people exist no matter what their legal documents may say about them. We talk to our friends and sometimes our family about our experiences, and we go about our day-to-day in the world. We go to schools, we fall in love, we get jobs, we go on holidays, and go out to nightclubs.
Though our lives would be so much better if our ID caught up.
Mental health would improve, we wouldn’t be stared at in passport control, we would feel recognized, seen and accepted. We would carry our ID around confidently and think: “if someone ever questions me, I have the proof, I belong here.”
Yet it comes as no surprise when I ask friends for their opinion on the blocking of the Scottish Gender Recognition Bill and their answer involves turning away from the news.
It’s a constant, chaotic, churning of negativity. No wonder no one knows what they can think anymore.
Breaking down the Gender Recognition Reform Bill
In December 2022, the Scottish Parliament passed several amended changes to the current law to make it easier for transgender people to access gender recognition certificates, by 86 in favour and 36 against. However, it was blocked by the UK government in a first act of veto against the Scottish Parliament in January, 2023, essentially shelving the policy for now.
A gender recognition certificate is a piece of paper that helps those who identify as trans to change their legal ID such as a driver’s license, birth certificate or passport. Right now, in the UK, to get your hands on that certificate, you have to go through two severely intimidating steps.
First, you have to wait for 2 years to go to talk to two “gender specialists” on the “Gender Recognition Panel” and then prove evidence of gender dysphoria (the feeling of existing in the wrong body) which must be diagnosed by a psychiatrist.
Gosh! Let’s recall the one and only J.K Rowling, who is having a hard time accepting trans rights. Let’s be real, a Gender Recognition Panel? Sounds like something straight out of Harry Potter’s Ministry of Magic!
If the proposed changes to the bill were to be passed, several modifications would be made. These would involve eliminating the Gender Recognition Panel altogether, doing away with the obligation to provide proof of gender dysphoria, and reducing the waiting time for the application process from 2 years down to 6-8 months. It would also allow for 16 year olds to apply.
“Isn’t 16 years old too young to mess about with this woke nonsense?”
No Rishi. No one suddenly wakes up one morning and decides that they are transgender. They go through years (literally) of self-reflection and discovery.
Do not underestimate what a new ID, which looks like you, can make you feel like. It’s a moment of pride and ecstasy, sometimes tears of joy.
I have been looking into how to change my legal documents for years, and this is how far I get into the process every time: I type into Google “how to change my name and sex on my passport in England.” It ominously displays an extensive inventory of government advice and documents that must be submitted.
I immediately close the website window. Admin is overwhelming when it’s against you.
A simple example of how you can show support
Only recently am I properly starting to take on the process of changing my first name with the help of my mother continuously telling me to “just do it” over our afternoon tea. She’s got my back.
I’m aware not everyone is in a position to have that support system in place, often someone to encourage them to just start looking at how to change something.
It would be incredible to make the process of acquiring new gender marker ID more accessible to learn about, let alone apply for.
It opens doors
Obtaining a gender self-identification certificate can lead to several other important changes for transgender people: encouragement to change a legal name, changing a passport, and any other form of ID.
Importantly, in the UK, it could pave the way for neutral identification, the famous X gender marker, to be legalized. It is currently not recognized on any government-issued ID documents including driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and passports.
Taking a page out of another country’s book, Canada: it already has all of these measures in place (self-identification, progressive trans policies, the X gender marker) and has recently seen universities introduce their own self-identification mechanisms in classes or on exam papers.
That is an example of government policy influencing everyday practices for the better of its people.