After years of struggle by trans activists – notably Stephen Whittle, Christine Burns and Claire McNab, of Press for Change – transsexual people in the UK, who have undergone gender re-assignment, and swear to remain in their ‘acquired gender’, are allowed, under certain conditions, to change their birth certificate.
This was not so much the granting of new rights as the restoration of rights that were withdrawn in 1970 by the notorious ruling of Mr Justice Ormrod in Corbett versus Corbett, known as the April Ashley case.
It is well-documented that prior to that ruling unofficial changes were made to the birth certificates of transsexual people who had transitioned (or ‘changed sex’ as people called it in those days), some of whom went on to marry.
The 2004 legislation isn’t perfect, and there are various anomalies, principally its implications for married couples, which I won’t go into now: maybe another time, because it would be relevant to raise it here, at some stage.
The point I want to make is that many Trans people in the UK can now complete their transition, and get on with their lives. Not so in the US, where the struggle for Trans rights continues in various States, and hence there are two Transgender resolutions at this year’s General Convention of The Episcopal Church, one from the Diocese of Michigan, the other from the Diocese of Massachusetts, calling on the Church to support secular civil rights legislation. In addition, there are three other resolutions which call on the Church to end discrimination in relation to gender identity and expression. More of all this, I hope, in another post, but the message is clear: at this year’s General Convention, Trans Christians and their allies are hoping and praying that it will soon be ‘time for T’.