Boris Johnson has shown he is a backstabbing backtracker. Tory backbenchers have their backs up and shown they have a backbone. I’m not shocked at the first, but I am at the second.
In October 2017, the UK’s conservative prime minister Teresa May agreed to allow Transgender people to change their identification without medical check, to make it solely about paperwork and not surgery. This was a pleasantly surprising development, but one in line with four European countries which enacted the same policy (Norway, Malta, Denmark, Ireland). Being able to easily change one’s gender gives people legal protections, makes it easier to maintain employment and afford surgery if people want it, instead of forcing Transgender people to live on the margins of society.
Theresa May has pledged to press ahead with plans to let people officially change gender without medical checks, as she said “being trans is not an illness and it should not be treated as such”.
The prime minister said she was committed to improving trans rights as she spoke at the Pink News awards dinner in central London.
However, on September 22, 2020, Boris Johnson and his cast of clowns and TERFs violated May’s wishes, reneging on the promise. He laughably claims ease of changing documentation is “not in Trans people’s interest”.
Ministers have ruled out changes to make it easier for transgender people in England and Wales to have their gender legally recognised.
They have rejected calls for people to be able to self-identify their gender and change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis.
Ministers said reform of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act was not the “top priority” for trans people.
The UK’s equalities watchdog said it was a “missed opportunity”.
But [anti-Trans bigots and TERF trash] applauded the decision as a “victory for fairness and common sense”.
The emphasis and edit is mine. More below the fold.
Compare that with India which on September 30, 2020, officially announced that Transgender people will be allowed to change gender and documentation without surgery or medical examination. India, a country turning backwards into a theocracy and where animosity, violence and discrimination against Transgender people are common, managed to do this. But Johnson says “No” in the UK.
The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment [. . .] has said that transgender people will no longer have to go through a medical examination to declare their desired sex, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment issued the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules 2020 on Monday.
The rules were first issued in a form of draft in July, inviting suggestions and objections from the public. The LGBTQ community had criticised the draft for taking away their dignity as it mandated that an officer, such as a district magistrate, would verify and certify the gender of a person. Critics said the procedure will subject transgender people to intrusive medical scrutiny.
Now, the district magistrate would issue the certificate on the basis of an affidavit filed by a transgender, who will declare their sex as self-perceived by them. The applicant will receive their identity cards within 30 days after the application is submitted, The Times of India reported.
But that’s not the end of the story. It’s not only labour party members who are criticizing Johnson. His own backbenchers are turning against him.
The Government faces a backlash from Conservative and Labour MPs after it backtracked on plans make it easier for transgender people in England and Wales to have their gender legally recognised.
Nicola Richards, Tory MP for West Bromwich East, was among those publicly to criticise the decision. Speaking in the House of Commons, she said: “This is of great concern, given that research shows that 84% of trans people have thought about suicide, with 50% attempting it.”
[. . .]
The change in policy sparked a backlash from MPs on the Government benches, as well as from Labour. Examples include Black Country MP Ms Richards, who spoke out in the House of Commons.
She said: “The community are feeling frustrated by the lack of substance in the conclusion to this lengthy consultation.”
[. . .]
The Government did announce some changes to the process, including cutting the fee for legally changing gender, which is currently £140. But Ms Richards told Ms Truss: “Will she acknowledge that these changes are menial, with waiting lists of well over 13,000 people pre-covid?
“Will she commit to further working with me and others who care passionately that the Government get this right? Will she report back to us on her work with colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care and on her progress?”
Other Tory critics included Conservative former minister Crispin Blunt, who asked Ms Truss: “Does she understand the crushing disappointment of trans people with the content of her statement on Tuesday when set against the consultation on which it was based?
“Does she appreciate that trans people cannot discern any strong or coherent reason for this screeching change of direction?”
To hear tory backbenchers speak out in defiance speaks volumes.
The tories “won” a majority in the national election of December 2019 (365 out of 650 seats, but only 43.6% of the vote). This is a fresh parliament at no risk of a non-confidence vote, so these tory backbenchers are not at risk of losing their seats nor need to pander to the public. They could have played it safe and toed the party line. Instead they spoke up and risk reprimands or expulsion from the party. With a 39 seat margin, the tories can afford to toss out ten as “punishment” and to send a message to the others to be silent.
But I’m sure that Johnson’s incompetent handling of COVID-19 and brexit have made it much easier to speak out.
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Side note: I had intended the third item on the FLQ to be a timeline of events in 1970. But given how I mostly covered that in the second part, I’m leaving that out. Tomorrow will be a report on Pierre’s Trudeau’s actions, and crimes.