UK government’s first report on transgender equality: ‘There is still a long way to go’

The UK government’s first inquiry into transgender equality has said the legal, healthcare and criminal justice systems are failing the country’s 650,000 ‘gender incongruent’ people.

The report, released on (Wednesday) 13 January, made more than 30 recommendations, emphasizing the need to update existing legislation and provide better services, especially in the NHS.

‘The committee took evidence on a very wide range of issues. As well as health, equality and criminal justice, we looked at education, data protection, service provision, official documents, sport – and more. Although Britain leads the world in recognizing lesbian, gay and bisexual rights, we are still failing trans people in so many ways,’ said Maria Miller, chair of parliament’s women and equalities committee.

‘The glamorous stories of trans celebrities are in stark contrast to the day to day experiences of many ordinary individual trans people. Our report challenges attitudes towards trans people and calls for them to be treated equally and fairly.’

The report found that the Gender Recognition Act 2004, although pioneering at the time, was now outdated. And its medicalized approach ‘pathologizes trans identities and runs contrary to the dignity and personal autonomy of applicants.’

It said that GPs often lacked an understanding of trans identities, and the hate crime action plan must include mandatory training for police officers on transphobic hate crime.

It also highlighted the risk of harm where trans prisoners are not located in a prison or other setting appropriate to their affirmed gender, citing the recent deaths in custody of two trans women.

The committee report called on the government to agree a new strategy for transgender equality within the next six months.