Numerous online creators are urging viewers to give their input during the public consultation.
The UK government is currently asking the public for input in regards to a reform to the Gender Recognition Act – or GRA, for short. The Act, which passed parliament in 2004 and went into effect in 2005, allows those with gender dysphoria to legally change their gender.
On its website, the government shares that, through the public consultation, it is seeking “views on how best to reform the process of changing one’s legal gender” and is trying to make “a better service for those trans and non-binary people who wish to use it”.
Many YouTubers have spoken up in response to the reform, with many tweeting out their support and urging viewers to share their opinions. Some, including Calum McSwiggan, Olly Pike and Leena Normington, have posted videos to their channels in the hopes of sharing with viewers why a reform of the existing Act is needed.
“The consultation on the reform of the Gender Recognition Act is a chance for us to tell our government that we want better rights for trans people,” explains Calum, speaking with TenEighty. “Trans people currently have to go through a lengthy and intrusive process in order to legally change their gender, and that’s what we’re hoping to change. We’re also trying to amend the law to allow non-binary people to change their identity, as well.”
— Rowan ElliSkeleton 🌈 (@HeyRowanEllis) September 26, 2018
Currently, those wishing to legally change their gender must undergo a series of medical tests, as well as interviews with psychiatrists, in order to do so. They must also have an official diagnosis of gender dysphoria, have lived as their new gender for two years and offer up evidence to a “gender recognition panel”, which will then approve or deny their request.
When asked why the YouTube community should get involved in raising awareness about the consultation, Calum cites the site’s welcoming nature:
“So many trans people come to YouTube to share their stories and to find a place where they feel welcomed, and I think it’s so important that we show these people that they are welcome, that we do have their backs and that we will always stand up for them. YouTubers like Alex Bertie, Jamie Raines and Ellen Stephenson have done so much good for the LGBT+ community. They’ve shown the world what it means to be trans, and they’ve made the community so much brighter in doing so.”
“The number of hateful comments, messages and tweets I’ve received has been heartbreakingly eye-opening,” he continues, discussing the response to his video on the matter. “These people are incredibly angry and passionate and will do anything to stop trans people getting their rights, and they garner support by twisting and manipulating facts to make their arguments sound legitimate. That’s why it’s so important that we make our voices louder than theirs and let our government know that we want and need trans equality because if we don’t there’s a good chance we won’t win this fight.”
Hey! if you're having a chill Saturday and have some time on your hands, maybe take some time to fill out the consultation in favour of reforming the Gender Recognition Act in the UK? I just timed myself and it only took 14mins!https://t.co/hiR8rpqKf0
— 𝕷𝖎𝖆𝖒 𝕱𝖗𝖎𝖌𝖍𝖙𝖊𝖓 💀 (@LiamDrydenEtc) October 13, 2018
Those in support of a reform aim for the need of a medical diagnosis and evidence to be removed from the application process. They also are campaigning for trans people to have the right to self-determination, as well as the recognition of non-binary identities. When asked about what the reform would mean for them, Roly West, who identifies as non-binary, says such recognition would offer validation of their identity:
“Reforming the Gender Recognition Act will make it possible for me to legally identify as non-binary. It will make my identity valid in the eyes of the law, which is the affirmation I’ve craved for so long. People love to dismiss non-binary identities, people love to say that we don’t exist, so having legal documentation to say that we do would mean more to me than you can imagine.”
Through the public consultation, the government is asking for the public to answer a series of questions surrounding the current Act and what they would like to see amended. Those wishing to participate can submit their opinions up until 19 October 2018 via the government’s official website. LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall has also embedded a question-by-question version of the consultation on their website, for those looking for advice on how to respond.
Update: The government has announced that the consultation deadline has been extended to 12 noon on Monday 22 October due to “the high volume of responses”.