Zarah Sultana (left) has challenged Tory equalities chief Liz Truss on trans rights. (Getty/Twitter)
Labour MP Zarah Sultana has asked Tory equalities chief Liz Truss “for answers” on trans healthcare and her plans for reforming the process of legal gender recognition in the UK.
Truss is currently in charge of plans to reform the UK’s Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which is the law that has, for 16 years, governed the process by which transgender people can update the gender marker on their birth certificates.
Sultana wrote to Truss on May 21 after a “number of concerns” were raised with her by constituents about Truss’ statements to the Women and Equalities Select Committee on April 22.
“You indicated that you were concerned about the provision of single-sex spaces in connection to the reform of the Gender Recognition Act and went on to indicate that you wished to see a change to the way the NHS treats trans young people,” wrote Sultana, who became Labour MP for Coventry South at the December 2019 election.
“I would be grateful for an explanation as to the connection and relevance of the protection of single-sex spaces to reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA).
“As you will know these protections are enshrined in the Equality Act 2010, which is not under review.”
Zarah Sultana went on to point out that the Equality Act has protected the right of trans women to use women’s spaces for a decade, adding that “we have seen in recent years a growth of extreme and transphobic hysteria surrounding this issue”.
“This has been in part an attempt by transphobic organisations and individuals to influence the Government’s consultation on, and ultimate position on, GRA reform,” Sultana said.
She continued that she would be “grateful to hear precisely what the Minister meant” by her comments on healthcare provision for trans under 18s, pointing out that Gillick competence and the Fraser guidelines – which determine when minors can consent to medical treatment – are standard clinical practice.
“Does the Minister intend to create a two-tier system where trans young people face additional hurdles to proper clinical treatment than young people not accessing transition-related healthcare?”
She also demanded to know what action Truss was taking on the “patent under-provision of healthcare for Trans people in the UK?”
Speaking to the Women and Equalities Select Committee in April, Liz Truss brought into question the rights of trans women and young people.
I’ve written to her for answers on the Government’s plans for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act and trans healthcare. pic.twitter.com/Obx8jTIe7x
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) June 5, 2020
Liz Truss has been heavily and widely criticised for her “extraordinary” attacks on trans people over the past two months, which began when she said, at a virtual meeting of the Women and Equalities Select Committee in April, that her approach to GRA reform would be influenced by three “very important” principles.
Two of Truss’ principles – the protection of single-sex spaces and healthcare for trans youth – are unrelated to the GRA but are talking points often repeated by anti-trans organisations.
Truss has not given a date for when she will publish her plans for GRA reform, simply saying it will be “this summer”.