Then Equalities Minister Justine Greening admitted the government’s plans to make it easier to change sex are ‘complex’ and ‘divisive’.
Although the minister has been championing the change to the law to allow people to legally change sex by self-declaration, without needing medical approval or a waiting period, the plans are being strongly opposed. Arguments against the plans are focused on concerns for the privacy and safety of women and girls.
In July 2017, Ms Greening commented the government would consult in the autumn on controversial changes to the Gender Recognition Act. But, according to reports in the Sunday Times, the consultation was delayed while responses to the Equalities Office’s LGBT survey were assessed. The survey, which closed in October 2017, was conducted by the government to learn about the experiences of LGBT and intersex individuals.
David Davies MP, one of a cross-party group opposing the changes, said: ‘Given the delay to this and the fact that many LGBT campaigners are opposed to this, I would urge the government to think again’.
He added it is important that women’s rights are not trampled on ‘to allow those who are effectively cross-dressers to enter places, such as changing rooms, hospital wards and prisons, where women would expect privacy’.
James Caspian, a psychotherapist who specialises in transgender issues, has been reported as stating the government ‘did not realise what they were letting themselves in for, because it is so complex’.
The Christian Institute’s deputy director for communications Ciarán Kelly, commented, ‘This is more than “divisive”: it is dangerous, especially for women. The whole notion of gender self-declaration is wrong-headed. The government needs to wake up and drop these plans altogether. Biological sex cannot be redefined at will’.