Joint Committee On Human Rights Written Evidence

14. Submission from Post-Op Women UK Group


  The membership of the Post-Op Women UK Group have concern that they are either not being represented, or are being misrepresented on crucial Human Rights issues.

  The Post-Op Women UK Group exists to ensure that post-operative M2F (Male to Female) and I2F (Intersex to Female) women have a private place to discuss issues of relevance to post-op women. Mainly concerned with surgical recovery, further surgery and hormonal regimes, the forum has also provided a safe environment for the discussion of the Draft Gender Recognition Bill (excerpts of which are included in the appendices)[36]

  The membership of Post-Op Women UK Group is made up exclusively of postoperative M2F and 12F women without exception.


  Note. For ease of comprehension, the headers in this overview correspond directly with the headers in the Draft Gender Identity Bill.


  Post-Op Women UK members are and have always been certain of their gender and would point out that it is the current "sex" of the individual that requires recognition.


1.   Applications

  (1)  "A person of either gender"—gender? Sex is the appropriate determination, not gender.

  (1)  "who is aged at least 18"—Age discrimination? Post-Operative Women of younger age will be unable to apply for a "gender recognition certificate"

  (2)  "the acquired gender"—Sex is the appropriate determination.

  (2)(a)  "gender in which the person is living" and (b) "gender to which the person is recognised as having changed"—There is no change of gender, the change is that of sex.

  (3)  "An application under subsection (1) is to be determined by a Gender Recognition Panel"—why? A post-operative M2F will have either an affidavit from their surgeon, or, a medical certificate can easily be sought from a GP stating their primary phenotypical sex from an observation of the external genitalia.

  (4)(a)  "has or has had gender dysphoria"—gender dysphoria is a wide term once used to describe a range of conditions, only one of which was termed "transsexualism". In 1994 the terminology was changed to use the term "gender identity disorder" which is again subdivided, one of the terms being the replacement for the term "transsexualism". Also, "gender dysphoria" would be hard to prove for long term post-operative women as the original diagnoses and the psychiatrists who made them are often no longer available.

  (4)(b)  "has lived in the acquired gender"—gender? Sex is the appropriate term.

  (4)(b)  "two years"— many post-operative M2Fs are post-operative before the "two years" the generally accepted period is one year except by the NHS, and some countries allow no period to live in the acquired sex (countries with laws that expressly forbid this eg Iran) whereas others require only months of this RLE, eg Thailand.

  (4)(c)  "intends to continue to live in the acquired gender until death"—Gender once again is the incorrect term, sex is appropriate. Also, being postoperative should be proof enough of any commitment.

  (4)(d)  "complies with the requirements imposed by"—Post-operative M2F women feel that the requirements are vague and meaningless, the documentation that is needed is that the person making the application is post-operative only.

  (5)(b)  "requirements imposed by"—Another exercise in paper chasing and further discrimination, all that is required from a post-operative M2F woman is a statement from a medical practitioner that she is postoperative.

2.   Evidence

  (l)  (a) and (b) these requirements are irrelevant, a post-operative M2F woman should only be required to provide documentation from a medical practitioner to the effect that she is post-operative.

  (2)  "gender dysphoria"—again, this wide term is being applied.

  (2)  "report required"—this will be difficult for any long term post-operative M2F woman to produce, and is seen as irrelevant.

  (3)  "If the applicant has undergone"—This section is irrelevant for a postoperative M2F woman and should not be required other than a medical report stating that she is post-operative.

  (4)(a)  "that the applicant meets the conditions"—the only condition needing to be met is that a post-operative M2F woman is post-operative.

  (4)(b)  "as to whether or not the applicant is married"—possible breach of Article 12. The UK Government having encouraged post-operative M2F women to marry other women, using financial advantages such as tax benefits etc, is in a difficult position to now require that an existing marriage is dissolved so that a basic human right can be conferred to the post-operative M2F woman. Existing family ties will be broken, and the partners and children of the post-operative M2F women may be financially disadvantaged.

  (5)(a)  "if the applicant is not married, a statutory declaration by the applicant that this is the case"—Why, this is irrelevant. However, post-operative M2F women who are not married (the majority) will be able to comply with this requirement.

  (5)(a)  "genders"—Marriage certificates don't record the gender of the individuals, however, the sex at the time of the marriage is implied.

  (6)  "Any application under section 1(1) must include

  (6)(a)  the applicant's birth certificate"—This is difficult for post-operative M2F women to provide, either for psychological reasons in that it would be a reminder of "transsexualism" once suffered, thus causing distress, or, for the simple reason that most post-operative M2F women do not have a copy of their birth certificate and would never acquire one for reasons of safety if found with that birth certificate.

  (9)(a)  "must supply any other evidence which the Gender Recognition Panel which is to determine the application may require"—This is an open ended method of further requiring the post-operative M2F woman to undergo unnecessary and humiliating scrutiny that may cause further psychological distress.

3.   Certificates

  The production of these gender recognition certificates is seen as an irrelevancy by post-operative M2F women as all that is required is a corrected birth certificate, entry in the register of births, and the changing of all records held by all government departments, together with a requirement for non-governmental organisations to change their records.

  (3)  "because of the applicant's marriage, a full gender recognition certificate has not been issued"—Breach of Article 12?

  (5)  "the applicant may make an application for a full gender recognition certificate at any time within the period of six months"—why six months? This is irrelevant. The rest of this section maybe in breach of Article 12.

  (6)  "An application under subsection (5) must include evidence of the annulment or dissolution of marriage . . . "—Possible breach of article 12.

  (8)(b)  "otherwise must reject it"—Possible breach of Article 12.

4.   Supplementary

  (2)  "The applicant must pay to the Secretary of State's—human rights in exchange for payment? Post-operative M2F women have long suffered from the failure of successive governments to implement adequate legislation, at great financial cost. Requirement to further pay for basic human rights is insulting.

5.   General

  (1)  "Where a full gender recognition certificate is issues to a person, the person's gender becomes for all purposes the acquired gender"—This section sound ridiculous, however, if sex is substituted for gender the section makes sense.

6.   Registration

  Dealt with under Schedule 2.

7.   Marriage

  Dealt with under Schedule 3.

8.   Parenthood

  (1)  "The fact that a person's gender has become the acquired gender"—incorrect use of gender when meaning sex.

  (1)  "under this Act does not affect the status of the person as the father or mother of a child"—This is a confused statement which could be better expressed by the addition of "existing" before "father", otherwise, children adopted after the recognition of the acquired sex, or those born by method of medical intervention (eg womb transplant), will have two parents of the same sex as parents on their birth certificates.

9.   Discrimination

  No inclusion of a section preventing the discrimination with regard to goods and services relating to post-operative M2F women. This is a serious error.

10.   Succession etc

  There are no problems foreseen with this section.

11.   Peerages etc

  (a)  "does not affect the descent of any peerage or dignity or title of honour—This section provides for the continuing discrimination of women by the government and will in time be resolved in the European Courts if ever a case arises.

12.   Trustees and personal representatives

  There are no problems foreseen with this section.

13.   Orders where expectation defeated

  There are no problems foreseen with this section.

14.   Prohibition on disclosure of information

  (4)  This section highlights when disclosure is permitted, post-operative M2F women challenge the requirement for any disclosure under any conditions.

  (5)  This section allows a Secretary of State to allow disclosure to anyone at some future date. It is unacceptable.

15.   Orders and regulations

  There are no problems foreseen with this section.

16.   Money

  (2)  Fees provided for the acquisition of human rights?

17.   Interpretation

  "the acquired gender"—Acquired sex.

  "gender dysphoria"—unacceptable definition, gender dysphoria is an old term used to denote many disorders, only one of which is transsexualism. By using the term gender dysphoria, anyone will be able to apply.

18.   Commencement

  There are no problems foreseen with this section.

19.   Applications within six months of commencement

  (2)(a) and (b)  Why both? (a) or (b) would be better else this will lead to discrimination against post-operative M2F women in favour of "non-op" M2F women and transvestites.

  (2)(b)  "six years"—Age discrimination against those who have only just reached an age at which they were permitted to obtain a change of sex by surgical means.

  If this section had only applied to post-operative M2F women and postoperative F2M men, the six year rule need not be relevant.

  (3)(l)(a) and (b)  These reports are expensive and difficult to obtain. The only documentation needed should be the report from a medical practitioner stating that the post-operative M2F woman is post-operative.

  (3)(2)  It is not always possible to obtain such a report so long after the initial diagnosis was made.

  (3)(3)  Only a report from a medical practitioner stating that the applicant is post-operative should be required for post-operative M2F women.

20.   Short Title

  "This Act may be cited as the Gender Recognition Act 2003"

  The problem with this is that post-operative M2F women are expecting a "Sex Reassignment Recognition Act" and hence many have not been consulted or are even aware of the implications the "Gender Recognition Act 2003".

  Post-operative M2F women are concerned that they are being misrepresented by people who are not post-operative M2F women, or have not fully adjusted to their acquired sex.



Gender Recognition Panels

  Many post-operative M2F women have questioned the need for gender recognition panels, when a simple check that a person has documentary evidence of a change of sex is all that is required.

  Post-operative M2F women also question the inclusion of medical members of the gender recognition panel as the medical member may have been responsible for the medical care of the applicant as a former patient.



Transsexual Persons Register

  The "transsexual persons register" is a concept that is offensive to post-operative M2F women and will lead to many not registering for fear that the register could be used against them at some future date.

  Of particular concern is the access to such a register when organisations such as the Evangelical Alliance have over a million members and would no doubt have members who would be able to access the information. Post-operative women fear for their safety.

  The fear that cross-indexing of new databases may lead to the identity of post-operative M2F women is also of grave concern and we feel that this is another contravention of Article 8.



  Section 5 (g) and (h)—Many post-operative M2F women will not disclose information on their struggles to be recognised as a member of their corrected sex to anyone. Other than a requirement to tell a prospective husband that the person is sterile, there is no need for further disclosure.

  Also, this section could mean that even though a disclosure is made as to the gender recognition of an individual, the phenotypical sex of the person could be hidden until after a marriage, at which point the phenotypical sex would be discovered to be opposite to that desired by the husband and he would have no recourse.

Areas of concern to Post-Operative M2F Women

(1)   Gender?

  Recognition of Sex and a birth certificate indicating the corrected sex, not Gender.

(2)   Gender Recognition Panel

  Concerns over who will be on this panel.

(3)   Under 18s

  Concerns that under 18s cannot have their birth certificates amended.

  Concerns that when someone reaches 18 they will not be able to have changed their name legally until they are 18, and this could be taken as not living in role.

(4)   Fathers

  M2F transsexuals who take up womb implant and bear children will still be classified as fathers rather than mothers.

  Adoption, M2F transsexuals would be treated as fathers, and if they were married then the child would have two fathers.

(5)   Statutory Declarations

  Why is medical evidence alone not acceptable?

(6)   Register of Transsexual People

  Concerns over the very existence of such as register and who will have access.

(7)   Qualifying period of two years in "role"

  Post-ops who have lived in role for less than two years will be treated as members of their original birth sex, in direct contravention to the ECHR judgements in Goodwin and I

(8)   Pre-existing marriage

  Forced dissolution of marriage.

(9)   Existing copies of registers in circulation

  Prevention of cross-indexing needed.

(10)   Identity theft of birth certificate left in circulation

  The old birth certificate needs to be struck from the register to prevent identity theft.

(11)   National Insurance Numbers.

  Of special interest to computer contractors who come under 1R35 as agencies keep NlN record.

  And, a person having transitioned in childhood will end up having two years or more of contributions in the incorrect name until they can legally change their birth certificate.

September 2003

36   Not printed. Back

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