Trans migrants in Britain could face increased harassment and discrimination if the government proceeds with plans to stop recognising legal gender change documents from some other countries, LGBTQ+ rights activists said.
Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, told parliament this week that the government intended to remove recognition from some countries as their gender change requirements were no longer as rigorous as the British system.
Cianán Russell, a senior policy officer at Brussels-based pan-European LGBTQ+ group ILGA-Europe, said the lives and safety of trans people were “being used as a political pawn” amid an increasingly bitter row over trans rights in Britain. “We are deeply concerned about the UK government’s decision,” Russell told Openly. “It puts trans migrants in the UK – and those considering migrating to the UK – at significantly increased risk of harassment and discrimination.” Badenoch said the change was needed to protect the British gender recognition system’s integrity and credibility.
A government spokesperson said: “The government is merely ensuring that individuals who can access the UK’s fast-track gender recognition system are from countries with at least equal checks and balances to the UK.” Trans people in Britain have to get a diagnosis of gender dysphoria – the discomfort people can feel if their gender identity does not match their body – and prove they have lived as their acquired gender for two years to gain a gender recognition certificate (GRC).