On the 17th of December, I made a rather unpopular tweet. Unpopular with other trans rights activists (tra’s), including my Co-Directors at Translucent. But sometimes, I can’t ‘toe the line’, especially when I feel something is wrong. I also job share the role of Women’s Officer with my best friend, Mary, at my local Labour Party. Mary supports trans rights to the hilt, but we should never forget we represent women.
The tweet responded to a Guardian article suggesting that sex offenders could potentially abuse self-determination. My tweet read:
This is my personal view & I know some trans folk will disagree, but as a feminist & someone who feels we should always respect other people’s opinions, I do agree that anyone who has a record of abusing women, should NOT be able to automatically Self-ID.
The immediate response from other tra’s was to yell, “for God’s sake Steph, all a Gender Recognition Certificate does is change a birth certificate”.
And for trans people, that is entirely right.
But what concerned me was not trans folk and our birth certificates. What concerned me was sex offenders and the like creating a brand new identity. Because, in theory, a new birth certificate could open doors to driving licences and passports. Worse still, they could do that every few months, transition one day by self-determination, and a few months later de-trans and create yet another brand new identity. Sex offenders on sex offenders lists could get lost by the Police in a sea of new identities over a period of months. And if a sex offender abused the system, the victim would likely be a woman.
A woman like those Mary and I represent.
And yes, I am fully aware the scenario I am giving is highly unlikely, that there is a two-year prison sentence and an unlimited fine is available to the courts for those who abuse GRC terms and conditions. I am fully aware, too, that the Scottish MPs did put some protections. But they should have gone the whole hog, and they didn’t, and now we find ourselves with the GRR Bill stuck in Westminster mud.
Worse still, with Nicola Sturgeon moving on, the GRR bill could potentially mean it won’t become law for our Scottish trans sisters and brothers for years to come. In my view legal gender recognition by self-determination is right – but not for those who may use this system improperly.
The gender critical will currently be delighted, but heaven forbid if another trans kid like Brianna passes away, in Scotland – she too will be misgendered on her death certificate.
Was the MSPs right to pass the GRR Bill in this format?
In my opinion – no.
But the GRA must be reformed across the whole of the UK as soon as possible.