The Conservative Party has backed plans to allow people to legally change their gender quickly and simply, without the need see a doctor.
Men will be able to declare themselves women and have their birth certificates altered – and vice versa – with the process “streamlined” so it can be done quickly, reports The Sunday Times.
Plans for the so-called Gender Recognition Bill, which will be subject to a consultation process, include proposals to “de-medicalise” transgenderism and end the requirement to be diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” before changing gender.
Currently, people who do not identify as their biological sex need to obtain a diagnosis and live as the opposite gender for two years before full legal recognition.
The Department for Education will also allocate £3m for “anti-homophobic and transphobic programmes” and require all schools, including faith schools, to teach children about transgenderism in relationships and sex education.
The changes could pave the way for legal challenges around questions such as who can access women’s changing rooms, lavatories, and even sports teams.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, a spokeswoman for the Transgender Trend parents’ group, told The Times the bill had “huge implications for women. There will be legal cases.”
She added: “The most worrying thing is if any man can identify as a woman with no tests and gain access to spaces where women might be getting undressed or feel vulnerable – like women’s hospital wards, refuges and rape crisis centres – women will just stop going to these facilities.”
Many of the proposals are drawn from a report drawn up by the government’s Transgender Equalities Inquiry, which also recommended introducing a gender neutral ‘x’ category on British passports.
Responding to the moves, the UK Independence Party issued a statement saying the Conservative Party had “ceased to exist as a recognisable entity.”
The party’s interim leader, Steve Crowther, said Britain now has “a political system in which the choices are between a revolutionary Marxist Labour Party and a Centre-Left Conservative Party which is soft on immigration, soft on law and order, and believes that the concept of ‘men’ and ‘women’ is a voluntary construct.”
— David Kurten ن (@davidkurten) July 23, 2017
“[The] Tories have gone barking mad as they promote right to choose your own sex. [Government] now denying basic biology”, added UKIP education spokesman and leadership candidate David Kurten on Twitter.
The consultation will be published in the Autumn and ministers will launch a national survey of lesbian, gay, and transgendered people in Britain to help inform policy.
Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, Minister for Women and Equalities, and in a same-sex relationship herself, said the Government “is committed to building an inclusive society that works for everyone, no matter what their gender or sexuality.
“We will build on the significant progress we have made over the past 50 years, tackling some of the historic prejudices that still persist in our laws and giving LGBT people a real say on the issues affecting them.”
Interest in transgenderism is rising, and in 2015 it was reported that the number of children seeking gender identity advice had risen by 100 per cent in 12 months.
Critics point out that 70 to 80 per cent of children who report transgender feelings spontaneously lose them as they grow older, and highlight studies which note a rise in suicide rates after irreversible “gender reassignment” surgery.