Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Finally listening

    Every now and then as you observe the trans community's path through the world, you become aware that a watershed moment has been passed. A few years ago we had one when we held a vigil outside the offices of the Daily Mail following the death of Lucy Meadowes, bashing us in the way they had became something tabloids couldn't do without censure.
    And the last few weeks. The Parliamentary Women & Equalities Committee holding a wide-ranging enquiry into transgender affairs, and the noted feminist Germaine Greer facing the threat of a no-platforming at Cardiff University over her views on trans people. When she angrily pulled out of the event and launched an astonishing hate-speech diatribe on the matter there was none of the chorus of defence from feminist worthies we've come to expect, instead she finds herself a pariah, damaged goods.

    It's almost as though a switch has been flipped, and people are finally listening.

    Of course, it's not all plain sailing. One of the absurdities of the gender recognition system is laid bare as a trans woman sentenced to twelve weeks for assault finds herself heading for a male prison because she doesn't have a gender recognition certificate. After tens of thousands of signatures on a petition the latest news is that she's likely to be granted an appeal. The word is that she may escape a custodial sentence and have some form of community punishment instead. The Ministry of Justice is so anxious to dodge the prospect of a trans woman in a female jail without a gender recognition certificate that they're prepared to forgo the sentence altogether. Good news for her, but isn't the point of equality that we should be treated the same in all situations as anyone else? Shouldn't she just serve the time in a women's jail? I'm not sure "Embarrass the MoJ as a trans woman criminal, get let off" is a message I want to come out of this.

    Still, at least people are expressing outrage. A decade ago they'd have been a metaphorical pitchfork waving mob yelling "Burn her!".

    I await the Women & Equalities report with interest. I'm not holding too much hope though, as a friend once said to me: "Politicians take our rights away, we get them back in the courts".


  1. Shows that people who have long ago earned the right to a gender recognition certificate do not always get organised for the effort and cost of the application. There is something wrong when it costs so much more than many other services and the subject is not even seen!

  2. I think that's part of the problem, the fee for a GRC can be too high for some and the process is a lot more complicated than it should be.
    I'm in the process of sorting out mine. I need a letter from my doctor at the GIC which I've spoken to them about via phone and email a couple of times so hopefully that message will get to him before I see him next, which is January, at which point I expect to be discharged from the GIC.

    Trying to fill out the forms I looked at the gender recognition panel website to find out which route I should go and from the information on the website got the impression it was the alternate route, because I'm married. But that has the condition that you have transitioned for 6 years prior to the end of 2014, not something that would ever be possible for me to achieve, unless the year they expect the 6 year period to be from is a rolling one; in which case come 2019 I'd be able to apply for a GRC.

    In the end I rang the GRP people and asked them to be told to use the standard route.

    Now I'm intelligent, I work in software development, and so should have found the process nice and simple but I haven't.

    It would be so much easier if there was only one form and it asked all the details that are needed, regardless of your personal circumstances.

  3. Although if you look at the comments on the PinkNews page it's still quite scary the reactions that are there.

    As for the GRC, until they make it simple to get one it is always going to be an issue. From what I have read recently I cannot even apply for one as I left the UK to live abroad. So I will always have a male birth certificate. Thankfully, as long as I am in Nederland it's not too much of a bother as I am already legally female here due to my passport (the Dutch do not understand why there is a difference between passport and birth certificate genders and I have to agree with them!).

    It is improving, but there is a long way yet I fear...

    1. Hi Stace, I have not read the information but came across thai page whilst searching how I have to find my way through the mad maze...

    2. Thanks Coline! Mind you, looking at it I am still trying to figure out if they I will get an interim certificate or a full certificate based on my marital status... (The best of it is in Nederland my marriage is already registered as a same sex marriage...)


  4. Well it looks like the Court displayed some of that uncommon commodity, Common Sense, can we hope the politicians will do the same?

  5. Yes, good to hear the lady in question is still behind bars, but in the right jail. Common sense prevails.

    I've penned another post on GRCs. I've come to the conclusion that the process is a bit of a waste of time, to be honest. It's illegal for someone to ask me for one, so whether I have one or not makes very little difference. They can keep that birth certificate as far as I'm concerned at the moment.

    1. If I had one I could get a pension! Something which has concerned me over the years is the number of people who are literally body snatched on death and the family use the lack of paperwork to play out a sick Halloween like farce of a funeral dressing the body of someone who lived years as a woman with legally changed name which has suddenly ceased to be their legal name!

      £72.50 will get you a superbly printed and bound passport with a digitally unenhanced image of yourself, 125 can get you a marriage service and certificate to prove the deed, It takes screeds of paperwork and £140 to gamble on a bunch of strangers who do not even see a photo of you to get a gender recognition certificate THEN you have to apply for your birth certificate to be changed, at least another £15, £55 in Scotland!

      Talk about kicking you when you are down!