Plans to allow adults to change their gender legally without a doctor’s diagnosis have been delayed amid growing criticism.
Justine Greening, the education secretary, said in July that the government would consult in the autumn on the controversial changes to the Gender Recognition Act. But the consultation has been delayed until at least early next year amid claims that Greening is getting cold feet. According to one source, she has privately admitted the issue is both “complex” and “divisive”.
Last night, a source close to the cabinet minister insisted the proposed reforms would be published in the new year. But that would not happen until Greening’s department had had time to review the number of responses to its LGBT survey, which was launched in the summer to help government policy on diversity.
The Conservative MP for Monmouth, David Davies, who is part of a cross-party group opposing the reforms, said: “Given the delay to this and the fact that many LGBT campaigners are opposed to this, I would urge the government to think again.
“Although there is obvious need to protect someone who is transgender from bullying and victimisation . . . it’s also important that we don’t allow women’s rights to be trampled on to allow those who are effectively cross-dressers to enter places, such as changing rooms, hospital wards and prisons, where women would expect privacy.”
James Caspian, a psychotherapist who specialises in working with transgender people, said: “It is understandable the government want to show they are supportive of diversity. However, they did not realise what they were letting themselves in for because it is so complex.” He said that by some measures there were 58 gender identities.
Caspian hit the headlines earlier this year when he said Bath Spa University had turned down his proposed research project on “detransitioning” — the reversal of a gender reassignment operation — partly because of worries it would be criticised for allowing “politically incorrect” research.
He told The Sunday Times Bath Spa had rejected his appeal, forcing him to launch a CrowdJustice fundraising campaign this weekend to pay for a judicial review.