The British Medical Association has today been accused of ‘denying biological reality’ after saying transgender people should be allowed to legally change their gender identity without a doctor’s consent.
Doctors backed a motion at the BMA’s annual meeting yesterday which asked the Government to pursue a ‘simplified’ way for transgender and non-binary individuals to gain legal recognition of their gender.
At present, those in Britain need a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to legally change their gender identity under the Gender Recognition Act.
But the BMA hopes the Government will adopt models similar to those in the Republic of Ireland and Denmark, which allow individuals to gain legal recognition of their gender through a witnessed sworn statement.
The move has been criticised by the LGB Alliance, which accused the Association of using an ‘ambushing practice’ after allegedly only distributing briefing documents an hour before the decision was made.
The Alliance also blasted the BMA for what it claimed was agreeing ‘to treat any man with a beard and a penis who “identifies as a woman” as a woman in hospital.’
Transgender people should be allowed to change their gender without a doctor’s consent in the UK, the British Medical Association has said. Pictured: File image
LGB Alliance founder Bev Jackson told MailOnline: ‘The public is unaware that this is what it would mean to introduce self-ID, without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
‘If it were not so serious, it would be a joke. The BMA clearly has egg on its face. As we have seen most recently with Covid-19, biological sex really matters.
‘We would expect doctors, of all people, to know this. We have heard that the briefing documents were only handed to the meeting one hour before the decision.
‘This is standard ambushing practice recommended by gender identity campaigners who want to create confusion with a minimum of information and consultation, hoping that those concerned will accept that this is about being “kind”.
‘It has nothing to do with kindness and everything to do with denying biological reality. The BMA will clearly need to reconsider to avoid becoming a laughing stock.’
Current rules under the Gender Recognition Act
At present, those hoping to legally change their gender must apply to the Gender Recognition Panel for a Gender Recognition Certificate.
Applicants must have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, be over the age of 18 and have lived in their gender for more than two years to apply.
Those hoping to change gender must also pay £140 and state that they intend to live in their gender for life.
Source: Gov UK
However, Eloise Stonborough, Head of Policy and Research at Stonewall, welcomed the BMA’s affirmation, adding the current process for gender recognition in the UK is ‘demeaning and out of step with international best practice.’
‘It’s great to see the British Medical Association affirm that trans and non-binary deserve to be recognised for who they are without a medical diagnosis,’ Ms Stonborough added.
‘Last year, the World Health Organisation recognised that being trans is not a mental illness.
‘That’s why we’ve been urging the Government to introduce a de-medicalised system of self-determination for gender recognition and we’re glad to hear the British Medical Association is now calling for a similar system.
‘The current Gender Recognition Act is out of date and equality for trans and non-binary people is well overdue.’
The BMA has been contacted for comment.
In a background briefing of the motion published yesterday, the BMA affirmed the right of transgender and non-binary individuals ‘to access healthcare and live their lives with dignity.’
The motion claimed that many transgender people find the requirement for medical diagnosis ‘demeaning and patronising, playing into antiquated notions of transgender people being mentally ill.’
The BMA added others find the process ‘too bureaucratic and expensive’.
The proposal – which was passed by a narrow margin – also called on the Government to allow transgender individuals to ‘receive healthcare in settings appropriate to their gender identity’.
It asked that ‘transgender healthcare workers are able to access facilities appropriate to the gender they identify.’
The BMA did, however, admit the motion is not ‘uncontroversial’, writing: ‘The involvement of doctors or other health professionals who have experience in working with those with gender dysphoria may enable discussions about emotional and physical wellbeing that may be helpful to the transgender person.’
Dr Helena McKeown, chairman of the BMA representative body, told the Telegraph: ‘We oppose discrimination of all kinds and are committed to ensuring universal access to healthcare for all on the basis of clinical need.
‘Receiving any medical treatment can be stressful for patients and so it is important for individuals to receive healthcare in settings they feel comfortable with.
‘This applies to transgender as well as cis individuals.’
Currently, to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate in the UK an individual must prove they have lived for two years in their chosen gender.
The Gender Recognition Act states a person must also be over 18, pay £140, and declare they intend to live as this gender for the rest of their life.
In 2018, Theresa May’s Government drew up measures which would have enabled transgender individuals to change their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis.
In 2018, Theresa May’s Government drew up measures which would have enabled transgender individuals to change their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis
However, it was reported in June that these plans had been ditched by Boris Johnson
However, it was reported in June that these plans had been ditched by Boris Johnson.
Instead, The Sunday Times claimed ministers planned to announce a ban on ‘gay cure’ therapies, in what was described as an attempt to placate LGBT people.
At the same time, the Government was said to be preparing to set out new safeguards to protect female-only spaces – including refuges and public lavatories – to stop them being used by those with male anatomy.
The details were said to be contained in a leaked paper setting out the Government’s long-delayed response to a public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act.
The Sunday Times said the paper was ‘basically ready’ and was being slated for publication by the equalities minister Liz Truss at the end of July before MPs break for the summer.
A No 10 source said that the details of the response were yet to be finalised, and the Prime Minister would have the final say on the recommendations.