There is still a long way to go to ensure equality for transgender people, despite welcome progress, says a report published in January 2016 by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.
The report of this committee’s first inquiry makes over 30 recommendations in a wide range of policy areas. It calls on the Government to take action to ensure full equality for trans people, emphasising the need to update existing legislation; provide better services, especially in the NHS; and improve confidence in the criminal justice system.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomed the report.
The Government responded to the report in July 2016: ‘The Government welcomes the WESC’s work and recommendations on the very important and emerging issues around transgender equality… As part of our response to the recommendations on the Gender Recognition Act 2004, the Government commits to a review of the Gender Recognition Act to determine whether changes can be made to improve it in order to streamline and demedicalise the gender recognition process.’
Progress on a new trans equality action plan and a review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 will be very welcome, and we are glad to see that the Government is considering many of our other recommendations. However, we made these back in January, and would have hoped for more substantial progress during the past 6 months. Although the response makes some good future commitments, it’s a bit thin on action taken so far. Overall, the Committee shares the disappointment expressed by many in the trans community at the contents of the response.
It is particularly disappointing to find that there is no intention to change the confusing and inadequate language in the Equality Act 2010.
We will consider the Government’s proposals for further action carefully, and we look forward to more detailed discussions with Ministers and officials soon.
The Government also announced new measures ‘to ensure transgender people are given the support they need’. On 7 July, Women and Equalities Minister, Nicky Morgan unveiled a new package of work including a review of the Gender Recognition Act.
Guardian report of announcement, 7 July 2016.