Transgender people ‘should be allowed to change gender without a doctor’s consent in UK’

Transgender people should be allowed to legally change their gender without a doctor’s consent in the UK, the British Medical Association has said.  

Doctors backed a proposal at the BMA’s general meeting yesterday which asked the Government to pursue a ‘simplified’ way for transgender and non-binary individuals to gain legal recognition of their gender.

At present, individuals in Britain need a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to legally change their gender under the Gender Recognition Act.

But the BMA hopes the Government will adopt models in place in the Republic of Ireland and Denmark which allow individuals to gain legal recognition of their gender through a witnessed sworn statement.

 Transgender people should be allowed to change their gender without a doctor’s consent in the UK, the British Medical Association has said. Pictured: File image

In a background briefing of the motion published yesterday, the BMA also affirmed the right of transgender and non-binary individuals ‘to access healthcare and live their lives with dignity.’

The motion claimed that many transgender people find the requirement for medical diagnosis ‘demeaning and patronising, playing into antiquated notions of transgender people being mentally ill.’

The BMA added others find the process ‘too bureaucratic and expensive’. 

Current rules under the Gender Recognition Act 

At present, those hoping to legally change their gender must apply to the Gender Recognition Panel for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Applicants must have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, be over the age of 18 and have lived in their gender for more than two years to apply.

Those hoping to change gender must also pay £140 and state that they intend to live in their gender for life.

Source: Gov UK 

The motion – which was passed by a narrow margin – also called on the Government to allow transgender individuals to ‘receive healthcare in settings appropriate to their gender identity’.

It also asked that ‘transgender healthcare workers are able to access facilities appropriate to the gender they identify.’ 

The BMA did, however, admit the motion is not ‘uncontroversial’, writing: ‘The involvement of doctors or other health professionals who have experience in working with those with gender dysphoria may enable discussions about emotional and physical wellbeing that may be helpful to the transgender person.’ 

Dr Helena McKeown, chairman of the BMA representative body, told the Telegraph: ‘We oppose discrimination of all kinds and are committed to ensuring universal access to healthcare for all on the basis of clinical need.

‘Receiving any medical treatment can be stressful for patients and so it is important for individuals to receive healthcare in settings they feel comfortable with. 

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