In the past few days, it has been leaked that the government intends to reduce the cost to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate from £140 down to under £10.
The question is why?
Because for sure, even though all trans people would agree that £140 was a ridiculously high amount to charge, it was certainly not the most important consideration we have concerning Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reform. Call me a cynic, but I can only see one reason for this. The Tories want to be able to say they are acting on GRA reform and use the announcement for spin purposes.
I can see the Sunday Times headline now "Gov slashes GRC costs to appease trans lobby."
The general public will say, "Oh wonderful Tories, being so kind and listening to the trans people - what a massive reduction."
Except it isn't.
Around 330 people apply for a GRC each year - the overall cost to the exchequer working on the current number of applications is about £43,000 - far less than a single peanut in comparison to the £842 billion in the government overall budget.
But for sure many trans people will now apply - after all for a tenner what is there to lose?
Except for more waits and rejection - because the bar for a GRC is purposely set at a height so high that even Cat Burton did not get accepted at the first attempt.
So when I asked my trans Twitter followers if they would now apply for a GRC, 29% of them said "yes" they would now apply. To be honest I was really surprised that the figure was so high.
I am just left wondering how the GRA panel will cope - and leave trans people potentially disappointed.
We could see applications initially be in the tens of thousands. My understanding is that the panel (consisting of a judge and someone medically trained in gender dysphoria) can't cope with the 330 applications per year and that long delays are currently being experienced.
And then there is that legal action trying to demote the rights of trans women with a GRC.
The woman behind this is one Ann Sinnott and her organisation is called Authentic Equity Alliance (AEA). Taking the rather devious route of an action against the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and on the Government Equalities Office (GEO) due to be heard in the High Court in early May, this case has (purposely, I would suggest) flown under the radar.
In describing the case against the EHRC & GEO and their website content the AEA says this:
The misguidance has inevitably led to dissent and dispute. Transwomen have been told they have the right to access female-only spaces. EA2010 states that female-only spaces and services are lawful and that exclusion of transsexuals (a term used in the Act, along with ‘gender reassignment’) does not equate to ‘gender reassignment discrimination’, provided it is a proportionate means to achieve a legitimate aim.
Transwomen believe they have the right to access female-only spaces and services. Natal women believe they have an exclusive right to women-only spaces and services, and many fully understand the EA2010 single-sex exception. The result is the heated contention seen on a daily basis on social media and elsewhere.
I recently exposed the fact that the Prison Service can and do ignore trans women with a GRC, which I can understand for safety purposes, but the Sinnott action seems very transphobic to me. It would appear the aim is to exclude even the most convincing trans woman such as Munroe Bergdorf for instance. Let us remember the definition of transphobia (courtesy of Oxford Languages) is the dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people - and in my opinion, the AEA action is prejudice.
It is coming down to what benefits are there going to be having a GRC? And just why is Ann Sinnott going to such lengths to persecute such a tiny minority of people? And what have the Christian extremists got to do with all of this?
For sure the ones based in the US are also exceedingly active in the UK - again silently, under the radar - unless like me you watch their posts on websites like Christian Institute et al.
Sadly, I think we are entering a new phase of transphobia in the UK - even more, dirty and underground.
Replicating what is happening in the US in relation to trans kids healthcare and sports.
The difference in the UK being that the agenda is tailored differently.
More difficult times.