• Sheffield Telegraph

Telegraph Voices: Discussing the Gender Recognition Act

The Sheffield Telegraph asked contributors '“How should the Gender Recognition Act be reformed?

Steve Slack, CEO of Sheffield charity SAYiT:

'˜Everyone's a hero some time or other,' lamented 97-year-old Louise Jennings, speaking on Look North. Assigned male at birth, Louise was a Second World War veteran who fought on the beaches of Dunkirk. She underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1990 after the death of her wife of 40 years. '˜Turns out in the long run I wanted to be a woman', she reflected.

Jack, an 18-year-old transgender man told me recently; '˜I just want to be accepted for who I am. I shouldn't have to prove anything to a panel of people or pay for the right to be officially accepted.' Two stories '“ generations apart. Fundamental to both, their longing, having accepted themselves, to be accepted by the rest of the world; to live without prejudice or abuse in the gender they choose. Transgender rights are human rights, yet are frequently portrayed as special rights which impinge on the rights of others. Transgender people and allies are merely asking for their right to self-define and self-identify without having to go through a hugely intrusive, expensive and bureaucratic process - rights already granted in various other countries including Ireland and Malta.

Debate surrounding the consultation on the 2004 GRA attracted ill-infor