Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed Conservative plans to review the Gender Recognition Act and pledged to vote for the law if it benefits trans rights.
Speaking to PinkNews, the Labour leader said that he was overjoyed that the Tories had taken inspiration from the Labour manifesto.
“I am delighted that the Government has listened to the demands of LGBT activists and is following Labour’s manifesto commitment. We will vote for any law that improves the rights of trans people,” he told PinkNews.
Speaking at the PinkNews Parliamentary reception earlier this week, Corbyn pushed for the government to review the Act which forces transgender people to endure bureaucratic tests before they can legally identify as the gender that they identify with.
He backed trans campaigners in calling for a ‘self-deceleration’ system which would eliminate many of the obstacles the current law requires including a two-year wait, therapy and medical tests which must be submitted in order to change their legal gender.
Addressing the Prime Minister at the event, Corbyn told PinkNews: “We must advance trans rights, and discrimination has gone on too long. Bring forward a Bill to update the Act and improve trans rights and Labour will back you.”
The government announced plans to review the rules in the Gender Recognition Act today (July 23).
It came after Theresa May said that the government would plan to announce reviews earlier this week in an op-ed for PinkNews.co.uk.
Equalities Minister Justine Greening confirmed that the review will work to de-medicalise the process trans people must currently endure as part of a “broad consultation of the legal system that underpins gender transition, the Gender Recognition Act”.
Greening said: “This government is committed to building an inclusive society that works for everyone, no matter what their gender or sexuality and today we’re taking the next step forward.
“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.”
Transgender activist Sophie Cook, who stood for Labour in the General Election, told PinkNews why she needs the Gender Recognition Act to be changed.
She said: “Since I transitioned in 2015 I have faced prejudice, abuse and even death threats and it’s time for Parliament to recognise the challenges that trans people face and work to eradicate bigotry in all of it’s forms.
“The Gender Recognition Act forces people to jump through hoops and undergo deeply personal and intimate examination of their life including medical evidence and, if you’re married, a declaration from your spouse in order to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).
“Despite, very obviously, being my true self and living my life in my true gender I do not have a GRC.
“My passport, driving license and all other documents identify me as female and yet under the law without a GRC my rights could potentially be in danger.”
The government says it will try to “relieve the bureaucratic and medical burdens for those who choose to change their gender”.
They hope to achieve this by stopping the process of needing a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria before people can apply for gender recognition.
Options will also be laid out to reduce the length and intrusiveness of the gender recognition system.
The announcement has been celebrated by trans activists who said it was long overdue as the current system is “demeaning and broken”.
Suzanna Hopwood, a member of the Stonewall Trans Advisory Group, said: “I am really pleased that the Government is making good on its commitment to review the Gender Recognition Act. Reform is one of the key priorities in our vision for removing the huge inequalities that trans people face in the UK.”
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall added: “We need a simple process which isn’t medicalised, intrusive or demeaning. We would urge the Government to ensure that all trans communities are consulted and to act quickly on their concerns.”