Proposals to allow adults to change their gender legally without a doctor’s approval are to be delayed by ministers.
Education Secretary Justine Greening said in July that the Government would hold a consultation on the proposed reforms in the autumn.
But the consultation has been delayed amid growing criticism. Miss Greening is now said to be getting cold feet and has privately admitted that the issue is ‘complex’ and ‘divisive’, The Sunday Times reported. A source close to the minister told the newspaper that the changes will now be consulted on in 2018.
But that will not happen until the Department for Education has reviewed responses to a survey on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) diversity.
Education Secretary Justine Greening (pictured) said in July that the Government would hold a consultation on the proposed reforms in the autumn but critics have urged ministers to rethink
‘We need to factor in responses to the first-ever national LGBT survey, which was launched in the summer to help government policy on diversity,’ the source said.
At present, people who want to change their sex legally must persuade a doctor they have a condition called gender dysphoria, and must have lived for two years as their desired sex.
Critics have urged ministers to rethink the proposals. Tory MP David Davies 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 those who are effectively crossdressers to enter places, such as changing rooms, hospital wards and prisons, where women would expect privacy.’
Miss Greening is now said to be getting cold feet and has privately admitted that the issue is ‘complex’ and ‘divisive’. Theresa May (pictured) previously said she was ‘proud’ of the role her party played in battling discrimination
James Caspian, a psychotherapist, added: ‘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.’
The plans, which have been criticised by Christian groups, and risk alienating traditional Tory supporters, are part of a wider push by Theresa May to improve the party’s reputation on LGBT rights.
The Prime Minister has previously said she was ‘proud’ of the role the party played in battling discrimination.
But in an article for gay website PinkNews to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, she said there was ‘much more to do’.
Mrs May added that there were times ‘where we [the Tories] have been wrong on these issues in the past’ and acknowledged that some might be sceptical of her party’s efforts.