Why trans people need to support equal marriage

Trans people need to support Equal Marriage – not necessarily for their own sake but to assist those married Trans people who have been left in a legal ‘gender limbo’ by the Gender Recognition Act: unwilling, for ethical, religious, or personal reasons, to divorce their partner, and enter into a civil partnership with them, they are unable to apply for full gender recognition.

This anomaly arose because of the insistence, during the progress of the Civil Partnership legislation through Parliament, that Civil Partnerships and marriage were not the same and that the State – at that time – was not in favour of same-sex marriage. It was means of pacifying those for whom marriage can only be contracted by or involve a man and a woman, and seemed a price worth paying to achieve similar legal rights for same-sex couples. Sadly, it has resulted in a punitive outcome – the inability to apply for full gender recognition and a new birth certificate – for those married Trans people who wish to remain married.

Marriage Equality in the UK should resolve this but the legislation will need to be retrospective if it is to help couples currently in this position and Changing Attitude will be bringing this fact to the attention of the Government Equalities Office. My own situation was rather different and you can hear me speaking about that as well as this issue in this video of my contribution to the Equal Marriage Panel at ‘Come Out & Play 2011’ – the 1st International LGBT Human Rights Summit held in the UK & the 6th LGBT Health Summit – held in Cardiff at the beginning of September.

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