Government has rejected recommendations from the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) of MPs to make ‘gender identity’ a protected characteristic under the 2010 Equality Act.
In a report from the WEC, although the UK government is ‘committed to a new “trans equality” action plan, and a review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004’, there is no definite commitment to change the law in line with the ‘principles of gender self-declaration’.
The government is committed to a review of the Equalities Act to determine whether changes can be made to improve it, in order to streamline and de-medicalise the gender recognition process.
The government will also review and take action on issues such as the inclusion of trans people in sport, transphobia in the NHS, clinical protocols for NHS Gender Identity Services, the recording of gender in passports, unnecessary recording of gender information, the rights of trans prisoners, and numerous other trans equality issues.
However, the government rejected a recommendation by the WEC that the protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010 regarding trans people should be changed to ‘gender identity’.
The government still uses the current form of words ‘gender reassignment’ and ‘transsexual’, although the committee claimed these terms were ‘outdated and confusing’.
Maria Miller, chairman of the committee, said, ‘Progress on a new trans equality action plan and a review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 will be welcome, and we are glad to see the government is considering many of our other recommendations.
‘However, while the response makes some good future commitments, it’s a bit thin on action taken so far. Overall, the committee shares the disappointment expressed by many in the trans community at the contents of the response. It is particularly disappointing to find that there is no intention to change the confusing and inadequate language in the Equality Act 2010’.