Joint Committee On Human Rights Written Evidence

11. Submission from Lima House Group

  The Lima House Group is an organisation in Cambridgeshire that offers the following services.

    —  Professional support and counselling services for transsexual people, their partners and families. Training and workshops for public and private organisations in dealing with transsexual people whether employees, volunteers or service users.

    —  Individual advice to employers when dealing with "transition at work" issues.

    —  Training in diversity issues to organisations, including the Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Probation Service and various Voluntary Groups.

    —  Advise and assistance to university students studying areas connected with Gender Identity.

    —  Provide a support line for people worried about gender identity issues.

    —  Provide services to the media (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines etc) in presenting true and accurate accounts of gender identity issues.


  We have kept this critique to a few major areas of concern, as we feel that the majority of the proposals are a very positive step forward to returning equal rights to transsexual people and bringing the UK into line with more forward looking countries.


  The decision to insist on pre-existing marriages being dissolved, annulled, or terminated by divorce before "acquired gender" is recognised, in my opinion, tantamount to emotional torture. To ask someone who has been married for many years to choose between having their true gender recognised and maintaining the vows they made in marriage is a choice that should never have to be made. This will inevitably cause considerable emotional stress for both partners.

  Whilst recognising the problems that this would create with "same sex" marriages, a simple alternative is clearly available. A new civil/religious option for married people to repeat their vows as a means to create a neo-marriage situation that would be treated exactly the same as for married people. This would only be available to couples where one partner transitioned after marriage.


  The draft bill does, not require a surgical intervention before issue of a GRC and final birth certificate change is made. Whilst recognising that some transsexual people are unable to complete full gender reassignment either through medical problems or lack of funding, this does present a potential breach of the human rights act. The draft bill will allow someone who wishes to maintain their full male sexual characteristics (including fertility) to register as female providing they can be seen to be receiving treatment for gender dysphoria. This must surely be a breach of the human rights of all women, allowing as it would such people to use facilities such as toilets etc., and would give the possibility of allowing sexual deviants into areas where they could cause considerable problems. There is a "script" that will fool any psychiatrist and this can easily be learned by anyone who wishes to. This is of specific importance when dealing with male to female transsexual people and the minimum requirement for male to female transsexual people must be castration and orchidectomy.


  The draft bill prevents people who transitioned less than six years ago from applying for six months after the bill is finalised. In contrast I believe, someone recognised by another country may apply immediately regardless of transition date. This is a totally unfair restriction on British transsexual people that should be removed from the bill Whilst recognising the likely "rush" of applicants, it is also important to recognise the effect that this restriction will have on those who have not lived for six years after transition. The rule regarding two years since transition should be the only restriction enforced.

10 September 2003

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