Why now?

Scottish Gender Recognition reforms – deadline for responses to the consultation is Tuesday 17th March 2020

On 19th December 2019 the Scottish Government published its proposals – which we hoped they had ditched – for reforms to the process of gender recognition in Scotland. The outcome of the consultation on the Bill will have an effect on proposals for similar English legislation.

Despite strenuous protests from feminists, mothers and fair-minded people, the proposals include “gender self-ID”.

The Bill for consultation is here.

The Scottish Gov’s consultation questionnaire is here.

Fair Play For Women has produced suggested responses to reject firmly any notion that gender self-ID is acceptable to women. Anyone can submit a response to the Scottish consultation.

Action:    Please print out and complete with your details page 1 of the Scot Gov’s paper form. Then print out page 2. Then send them together in an envelope to: Gender Recognition Reform, Room GW-15, St Andrew’s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG.

Alternatively copy and paste the answers on page 2 into the appropriate spaces in the on-line Scottish Gov questionnaire which is here.

Deadline for submitting responses is Tuesday 17th March. I have completed mine.

 

[E&W] Gender Recognition Act changes halted after child fears

by Steven Swinford, Deputy Political Editor – The Times  

At present NHS rules enable children to start gender transition treatment before puberty without their parents’ support.

Ministers are expected to drop plans to make it easier for people to change their gender [in England and Wales]  amid concerns about the impact on children.

The government will formally respond to a public consultation on updating the Gender Recognition Act by the summer. The consultation, which was launched in 2018 by Theresa May, proposed to change the law so that people would be able to officialy transition simply by making a declaration of their gender.

At present they have to receive a medical diagnosis, appear before a specialist panel, and wait for two years for legal recognition of their new gender. They also have to pay a £140 fee.

The proposals to change the Gender Recognition Act have met with criticism from some feminist groups, whose members are concerned about the prospect of trans people being able to use single-sex spaces.

Ministers are also concerned about the impact the proposals could have on children, who are being helped to transition while still developing their “decision-making capabilities”.

………

At present NHS rules enable children to start gender transition treatment before puberty without their parents’ support. Children unhappy with their birth gender can begin treatment after as few as three therapeutic assessments. They can discuss treatments separately from their parents and are encouraged to self-define their status and to develop “autonomy” in decision-making. Interventions include hormone blockers to suppress puberty and, later, cross-sex hormone therapy. The average age at which children begin such treatments is 14, but some are as young as 12.

NHS England has ordered an independent review into the use of puberty suppressant drugs and cross-sex hormones. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which is responsible for clinical practice guidelines in England and Wales, has also been asked to develop guidance for the first time about referring children to gender identity services.

Existing NHS treatment draws heavily on international guidelines that recommend approaches in care for gender dysphoria.

An NHS contract with the Tavistock & Portman Trust, issued in 2016, says that it will “conform” or “broadly conform” to standards of care issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in 2012. These say that they reflect the best available science and “professional consensus”. The Tavistock Trust works with children and young people with gender identity issues.

However, Gene Feder, professor of primary care at the University of Bristol and an expert in clinical guidelines, said that these fall far below the benchmark for British healthcare guidelines used by Nice and that he would not recommend their use.

 

Fair Cop judgment gives partial court win and victory for free speech

BBC 14th Feb 2020 : Harry Miller: Police probe into ‘transphobic’ tweets unlawful

On 14th February 2020, the judgement in the case of Harry Miller (“Fair Cop”) was delivered. The judge found that Mr Miller’s allegedly “transphobic” tweets were lawful and that the conduct of Humberside Police in visiting him at his place of work and warning him was disproportionate. The police had wrongly interfered with his right to freedom of speech.

But the more substantial action, a wider challenge to the legality of the College of Policing’s guidelines on “hate crimes”, was rejected.

These define a hate incident as “any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender”.

Mr Justice Julian Knowles rejected Mr Miller’s challenge against the guidelines, ruling they “serve legitimate purposes and [are] not disproportionate”.

The guidelines are problematic because the complainant does not have to provide evidence of any actual harm nor is there a test of “reasonableness” – what a reasonable independent person would understand about the action that is complained of. The guidelines assume that a “hate incident” has been committed on the sole allegation of a complainant, not a  “victim“. The use of the word “victim” implies that a “hate incident” has occurred. Thus the guidelines are defective and the bar to proof of a “hate incident” is set far too low.

Mr Miller has appealed against the ruling about the College of Policing guidance and permission has been granted for the case to go straight to the Supreme Court.