46.Submission from Mrs W
I warmly welcome and support this bill.
Hitherto, transgendered people, particularly
those who were born transsexual, have suffered from bigotry and
harassment and the infringement of human rights afforded to other
citizens. They have been denied full participation in society
and have had their medical condition incorrectly diagnosed as
a lifestyle choice or mental illness.
I am grateful to HM Government for bringing
this bill forward and would like to thank all those who worked
on its production. Affirmation of their full legal status will
make a huge difference for transsexual people and will, it is
hoped, allow them to live as full members of society, with the
same rights of citizenship enjoyed by others. In addition, it
is to be hoped that the proposed legislation will help to educate
those areas of society which, for reasons pertaining to their
own agenda, persist in denying the true nature of Transsexualism.
Please be aware that there will be opposition
to this Bill. Various church groups and others, who have little
or no knowledge of the condition, will continue to argue that
Transsexualism is a lifestyle choice and psychological in origin.
This is completely untrue: there is much medical evidence, gathered
over many years, to support the view that the condition is congenital.
It is, alter all, but recently that such vociferous churches have
acknowledged that epilepsy is not, as first thought, caused by
possession of a devil but a congenital disorder of the brain.
It is to be applauded that sufferers from this latter condition
are now afforded medical treatment instead of largely being ostracised
I trust that this Bill will serve both to restore
human rights to a minority of the population and also to assist
with the enlightenment of those whose views are entrenched in
I do, however, have two concerns. Firstly in
respect of those who, like me, were persuaded that marriage would
be a cure for Transsexualism, are still, for one reason or another,
part of a legal relationship (even after transition to their chosen
gender role) and who wish, for financial or other reasons, to
maintain that relationship. The Bill indicates that HM Government
are opposed to the recognition of change of gender for a married
person, ie so that a "same sex"" marriage could
occur. I am sure that potential hardship could be avoided if a
means were to be found such that a relationship of this nature
could have appropriate legal recognition, not necessarily to be
called a marriage. Perhaps it might be possible to incorporate
some suitable solution into the proposed interim Gender Recognition
Certificate. It is unfair to insist that partners, who may have
financial and/or emotional ties, should incur the legal expense
and exposure to potentially crippling taxation which forced divorce
would inevitably bring.
For my part I was persuaded in 1968, by a NHS
psychiatrist, that marriage would cure me of Transsexualism. It
failed and resulted in a marriage, in name only, which has lasted
32 years. After two subsequent periods of denial, I inevitably
came to the conclusion that there was no appropriate way forward
for me other than transition to the female role, an event which
took place some 14 months ago. I am, I consider, a better adjusted
person and can contribute to society in ways that were not previously
possible. I am still, however, legally married (although we no
longer live together) and my spouse is wholly dependent on me
financially and substantially dependent emotionally. Divorce could
adversely affect her right to a spouse's pension from my erstwhile
employer and the legal costs involved could be financially crippling
to me and eat into that money which should be available to provide
for our retirement.
Secondly, I would also request and urge that
a transsexual person be a full member of the Gender Recognition
Panel, or at least in an advisory capacity. It seems totally inappropriate
that the panel could potentially consist wholly of persons with
little or no experience in the field.
29 August 2003
62 The author of this memorandum provided their name
and address but asked for them not to be printed.