(Trans)forming Childhood: Recognising the Lived Gender of Minors

4:00pm - 5:30pm / Friday 4th October 2019
Type: Seminar / Category: Research
  • Suitable for: All welcome to attend
  • Admission: Free event - please register
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Dr Peter Dunne, University of Bristol

In 2004, Parliament enacted the Gender Recognition Act (GRA 2004). For the first time in the United Kingdom, transgender (trans) individuals were entitled to obtain formal acknowledgement of their lived gender. Under s. 1(1) of the GRA 2004, only “persons of either gender who [are] aged at least 18” can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). This means that, despite the growing population of youth – who are undertaking social and medical transitions prior to majority – UK law continues to recognise only adult trans identities.
In 2018, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) began consulting on amendments to the GRA 2004. However, despite proposals to liberalise the existing legal gender recognition framework – adopting a model of ‘self-determination’ – the GEO consultation did not foresee child-inclusive reforms. This paper explores the medico-legal dimensions of affirming trans youth. Approaching gender recognition through the lens of human rights, the paper investigates whether withholding a GRC enhances or diminishes young people’s mental and physical welfare.