What on earth is Lisa Nandy talking about?

07Mar20

Every time Labour leadership candidate, Lisa Nandy has been asked for her view on the Gender Recognition Act and gender self ID in the last few weeks she tells a story about a young person in her constituency . Here are a couple of versions of that story

“I have a young person who is going through the Gender Recognition Act process at the moment. Watching what she and her family have had to go through has driven me on,  despite the level of anger and hatred and abuse that I’ve had in the last few seeks for standing up on this issue, it has given me a very small taste of what this what her and her family have had to put up with over the past few years, going through this lengthy, awful process. There is no supportThe waiting times are horrendous. The stigma is terrible. It is not a psychological condition, to be trans and we should not stigmatise people . That is why I don’t agree that the Gender Recognition Act was a step forward because I think it was something that was meant to provide support and help and in fact has become one of the problems for trans people.  One of the reasons why they are stigmatised, bullied and discriminated against and why we’ve now got a situation that we should be ashamed of in this country where  Trans peoples suicide rates are sky high and mental health is at rock bottom. “

“The Gender Recognition Act which was designed to try and help & support people going through the trans process has become something that is part of the problem with very very lengthy delays. So I have got a young girl in my constituency who has been going through the process at the moment she has been waiting years without support. She has been bullied at school. She is having a hard time at school. Her family is having a hard time. It is a very long processes without support but also it’s a very stigmatising process and that is why I believe self identifying is a really important part of the fundamental right of  people saying I know better than any psychiatric assessment could determine who I am and what I’m about. “

What on earth is she talking about?

She says she is talking about the “Gender Recognition Act” Process. This is a process to allow adults to change the sex that is recorded on their birth certificate.  That is all it does.

The process involves getting two doctors reports confirming gender dysphoria diagnosis and sending these along with your passport, driving licence and other documentation showing changed name and title going back 2 years to the Gender Recognition Tribunal.

It usually takes between 8 and 20 weeks and over 90% of applicants are successful. The administrators and the panel take a supportive approach to facilitating applications.

This is not a “very very lengthy process” involving long delays.

It is not a process that is unsupportive, but nor is it as Nandy seems to think a process that is designed to provide broader “help and support” to people who are being bullied at school because they don’t fit in with gender norms. Having a GRC is not a requirement for further medical treatment.

So Nandy seems to be completely confused and is talking about something else altogether

Is she talking about waiting times for child and adolescent mental health?

Is she talking about waiting times for the Gender Identity Development Service  at the Tavistock?

What is the “process” she is talking about ?

What does she think it has to do with the Gender Recognition Act?

Why does she think that a young person who is unhappy in their body and wants to transition shouldn’t have psychiatric assessment?

What is the support and help she is thinking they should get if it doesn’t involve mental health support?

What is it she thinks “self ID” is and how does she think it will help her young constituent who is having a hard time?

I have no clue and neither does Nandy as far as I can see. She just keeps wheeling out this same story. 

If she hadn’t branded women’s groups like Woman’s Place UK  and the Lesbian Gay and Bisexual Alliance hate groups they could explain to her what the self ID proposal is and how the current Gender Recognition Act works. They could tell her why there are concerned about proposals for ‘self ID’ and the push for young people experiencing gender dysphoria to be affirmed at an early age as needing to transition. 

Nandy this weekend doubled down saying “If you’re somebody who doesn’t believe that trans people have rights, or doesn’t believe that trans people exist at all, then that is unacceptable behaviour.”

In this she is starting to sound like a teenager herself.  No one is  debating whether anyone exists (everyone exists) or whether anyone should not have human rights (everyone has rights).

The question is what what specific accommodations and protections do people who identify as trans need to realise their human rights,  and how do these interact with the existing sex based rights protections, particularly for women and girls?

These are serious questions which cannot be answered deferring to a single troubled young person in Wigan whose story has been garbled and misunderstood.

 



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