News that the Gender Recognition Panel is delaying and possibly denying legal gender recognition for a trans person because they had children whilst trans is deeply concerning. The Gender Recognition Act does not require a trans person from abstaining from sexual activity, side effects reproductive or otherwise. This news represents a potentially unlawful and clear violation of trans peoples reproductive rights.
The reasons giving for this action can be seen below:
We have a long way to go to achieve reproductive justice for trans people. Most European countries that have an equivalent to the Gender Recognition Act require the trans person to be sterilised in order to have their gender legally recognised. Although this is not the case in the UK, this move by the Gender Recognition Panel to delay and potentially deny recognition could seen as part of a move towards the de facto requirement for sterilisation. This is particularly concerning in a time when trans people are finding it increasingly difficult to access reproductive technologies such as gamete storage and IVF through the NHS or privately. Reproductive justice for trans people needs to be central to our agenda, and crucially needs to be picked up as a key issue for feminists in the UK to be working on.
It just so happens that today (Dec 5th 2014) the Gender Recognition Panel are meeting. As far as I can tell from here, the Gender Recognition Panel has its administrative offices in Leicester, presumably at the Crown Court, but meets in London. If my information is up to date, the panel is chaired by Judge Jeremy Bennett who has an office in Sutton, London: Copthall House, 9 The Pavement, Grove Road, Sutton, SM1 1DA. It might be worth locals in Leicester or London popping down and letting the Gender Recognition Panel know what you think. (Please let us know if any of this information is incorrect).