SU welcomes students responding to Gender Recognition Act consultation

The SU also made its own submission to the consultation incorporating contributions from members


Oxford University Student Union opened its offices on Monday to enable students to submit responses to the Reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2018 consultation.

The consultation, commissioned by the Government Equalities Office, aims to gage the public’s views on how to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

A spokesperson for the SU told Cherwell: “Oxford SU hosted around about 30 students throughout the day, we provided a space to work, snacks and information on our views on the consultation.

“We then let the students fill out the consultation unhindered and provide whatever answers they would like for us. Oxford SU firmly believes in equality for all and this is one way of helping to achieve that.”

Oxford SU VP Women Katt Walton was present throughout the day to advocate for the importance of the consultation. The University’s LGBTQ+ society also provided a set of template answers to assist those answering the consultation.

Walton told Cherwell: “The SU strongly supports the reformation of the GRA so that it can better support the trans community. We are very proud to unequivocally support the trans community and we urge everyone to fill out the GRA consultation.

“We have decided to have an office open day because many people will have questions about the GRA, we want to be able to provide that information in an easily accessible way, so they then can fill in the form whilst they are here.

“We hopefully want to get as many voices calling for equality and respect submitted because we know that opposing voices will be loud and myths and misinformation will be spread.”

In a SU blog post, Walton wrote: “Currently, trans folk have to endure a long and dehumanising process to ‘prove’ their gender identity. It’s very stressful, complex, expensive, and largely inaccessible to trans people.”

The SU also made its own submission to the consultation, which incorporated contributions from members present on Monday and is publically available on their website.

In their submission, the SU stated: “This consultation widely misses the mark and has squandered the opportunity to hear, first hand, the experiences of trans people.

“Rather than focus on how policy is implemented and the real life impact of these arduous, outdated, overly-medicalised policies on the lives of a marginalised group, this survey demands time and labour from said marginalised group in order to answer questions that require both an in depth knowledge of the GRA 2004 and the EA 2010.

“Not all trans people are politicians. Not all trans people are lawyers. Trans people are simply trying to live their lives in a way that is safe and as free from dysphoria and discrimination as possible.

“Many of the questions in this survey are a matter of fact, not opinion: They should not be up for debate.”

Anyone can participate in the consultation, but a few questions on the form are reserved specifically for people who identify as (binary or non-binary) transgender.

Since the GRA was first implemented in 2004, 4,910 people have used it to legally change their gender. The government estimates that there are 200,000 to 500,000 trans people living in the UK.

Currently, it costs £140 to go through the process of legally changing gender. The process also requires, among other documents, a medical report that proves the applicant has gender dysphoria and proof that they have lived as their new gender for at least two years.

The current GRA doesn’t legally recognise the existence of non-binary people. In their submission, the SU added: “Society has moved on from outdated concepts of binary sex and gender and now the legislation must catch up.

“EDM660 (2015) called for the gender marker X to be added to passports, that we are still debating this three years later is baffling. It is time to move on.”

The submission closes on 19th October 2018 at 11pm.


  1. “Oxford SU firmly believes in equality for all.” This doesn’t even make sense as English, much less as politics.

    How are you defining equality? People who are different cannot be equal. That isn’t a thing. It doesn’t make sense in terms of physics, biology, ethics, etc. Everyone is different. Everyone is unequal. This is so obviously so it shouldn’t need to be said.

    So then what you mean isn’t “equality.” You mean something different. Very, very different. So then what is it that you mean? The devil is in those details. And why won’t you just say what you mean? Why intentionally use such a meaninglessly vague platitude? The devil’s in there as well.

    So since you’re not asking for equality (as that makes no sense), what are you doing? The answer: you’re engaging in a postmodern identitarian power grab. And you’re masking that power grab with pleasing-sounding quasi-Enlightenmentish language.

    What you’re asking for is Gender Self-Identification. And the reason you won’t just say that that’s what you’re asking for is because as soon as you do, it becomes obvious that that’s a motherlode of unintended consequences. If Self-ID is the only legal standard, we will unleash an avalanche of legal and ethical dilemmas related to: affirmative action programs, prisons, shelters, therapy groups, sport, women’s rights, gay rights, etc. You will end up causing more harm and trauma than you alleviate.

    What you are asking for is that it be less governmentally rigorous to change one’s gender ID than it is to apply for a fishing license. It’s laughably preposterous.

    This would open up limitless ways to game and manipulate arrays of government policies, government programs, and private sector institutions. It would lead to the decimation of women’s sport as any man could now enter elite women’s competition. It would allow men to claim legal and medical and hiring benefits hard fought for by women, an obvious infringing of women’s rights. It would allow violent men to insist on being housed in women’s prisons. It would allow men to invade women’s shelters and therapy groups. And if anyone protested, the protestor would be in violation of the law. So it’s chaos plus totalitarianism. With the most obvious losers being women. One would have to be willfully blind not to see lists of ways that women’s rights would be threatened by this.

    One can fully support robust trans rights, as I do, while still having the sobriety to look a few moves ahead and see obvious unintended consequences for law and for society. I appreciate that the OUSU has good intentions. But they are intentions so naive that, in the end, they are simply illiberal.


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