Legal protection on the grounds of gender identity should replace equality legislation covering gender reassignment only, PCS members have agreed, as part of a wider call to improve equality for transgender people.
In voting for motion A78 at the union’s conference, members committed PCS to campaign for the full implementation of the recommendations in a government ‘Transgender Report’ published in 2016.
Condemning the UK government’s response so far, the motion instructed the union’s NEC - in collaboration with PCS Proud - to push for the report to be implemented as soon as possible.
Moving the motion for R&C East Kilbride, Kris Hendry - a PCS Proud organiser - said while there had been significant progress for the LGB community in recent decades “the ’T’ is still left with some way to go”, with “outdated and sexist” ideas of what is masculine and feminine still prevalent.
Speaking in support of the motion, Saorsa of DWP Bradford said the union could not “waste another year” considering the issue, adding: “It’s about time we supported trans members.”
The branch’s motion recognised “the huge weight the Gender Recognition Act 2004 places upon members who wish to transition from the gender they were assigned at birth to one they truly identify with”.
It said the current process, which requires a large amount of evidence and forces the individual to live in limbo for two years, is “unnecessary and harmful to the health and wellbeing of those forced to go through this procedure”.
“All members should expect to receive the same legal protections from discrimination and harassment under the Equality Act 2010,” it was agreed.
The ‘Transgender Report’ highlighted an area of concern in relation to gender identity, whereby the legislation only protects those who intend to undergo, are currently undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment.
“This leaves many who do not want or need to transition - perhaps because they identify as neither male or female, or perhaps because they identify as both - open to the threat of bullying, discrimination or harassment with the risk of being unable to access legal recourse due to the narrow definition within the Equality Act 2010,” said the motion.
It agreed with the committee recommendation that the Act should be amended to afford protection on the grounds of gender identity in place of gender reassignment.