Green Party backs self-identification for gender recognition certificates
Members of the Green Party of England and Wales today voted for a motion which supports the principle of self-identification for people seeking to obtain gender recognition certificates. The motion was passed at the Green Party’s conference taking place virtually this weekend due to Covid restrictions.
Currently, under the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, people wishing to have their gender recognised in law and official documentation need to provide evidence of a gender dysphoria diagnosis and evidence that they have lived in their “acquired gender” for at least two years. Critics of the current legislation argue that this provides unnecessary barriers to trans people having their gender recognised in law. They also argue that the current legislation pathologises trans people and their identities.
The motion passed by Green Party conference explicitly seeks to remove these restrictions and allow trans people to determine their own gender. The motion read:
The Green Party believes that trans, non-binary, genderqueer, third gender, and intersex people should have their gender legally recognised and be empowered to update their birth certificate and any other official documents, without medical or state encumbrance.
We support the right for individuals to update their legally recognised gender by self-determination, the only requirement being a statutory declaration, to how they would describe their gender, including having the option to change their name on all documents.
281 attendees at the conference voted for the motion, compared to 212 who voted against.
Speaking on the passing of the motion, Green Party co-leader Sian Berry said she was “extremely proud” that the motion passed. She told Bright Green:
The Green Party supports trans, non-binary, and genderqueer people to live their lives without discrimination or state or medical interference.
I am extremely proud that members have backed this motion which seeks to remove the heavily medicalised and traumatic process imposed by the Gender Recognition Act on those seeking to update their legally recognised gender.
As a party we are absolutely clear that trans men are men, trans women are women and non-binary identities exist and are valid and we will do everything we can to ensure everybody is able to lead a safe, fulfilling and joyful life.
The Young Greens – the Green Party’s youth branch – supported the motion, arguing that the current legislation constituted “unreasonable gatekeeping” of trans people’s identities. In advance of the vote, they tweeted:
Trans people shouldn’t be subjected to unreasonable gatekeeping or delay when affirming their own identities.
Without a gender recognition certificate, trans people lose control over their birth certificates, death certificates, funerals & marriages.
Please vote FOR E03 👍 pic.twitter.com/vqf26vTL6n
— Young Greens 🌱 (@YoungGreenParty) March 6, 2021
Defeating a motion that would “marginalise” the rights of trans people
Support for self-identification of gender wasn’t the only motion on this issue discussed at Green Party conference, however. Another motion – debated before it – sought to introduce a section of Green Party policy on “women’s sex-based rights”. The motion argued that women are discriminated against “solely upon their biological sex”.
This motion was voted down by members, with 232 votes cast in favour, and 289 votes against. Speakers against the motion argued that it took a trans-exclusionary approach and refused to accept that trans women are women. Among those to speak against the motion were Green Party co-leader Sian Berry and London Assembly member Caroline Russell.
Berry later celebrated the motion being defeated. She argued that voting the motion down meant the party was supporting “inclusive women’s rights”.
Motion E01 was defeated. My party voted for inclusive women’s rights and someone is having a big old cry. Thank you Greens! 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️👏💚 https://t.co/DuQ6jkW70z
— Sian Berry (@sianberry) March 7, 2021
The Green Party’s LGBTIQA+ wing also celebrated the motion on “sex-based rights” being defeated. In a statement, their committee told Bright Green the motion sought to “marginalise” the rights of trans people:
Today Green Party conference rejected a motion that tried to marginalise and sideline the rights of trans people.
We’ll be focused on working with other liberation groups to improve our gender policy – in a way that recognises and includes all genders.
We have to smash the patriarchy together – not create false fights between trans and cis people.
Among those to speak in favour of the motion on “sex-based rights” was Green Party member of the House of Lords Jenny Jones.
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I have now left the Green Party after 30 years as a member as a result of this antidemocratic and misogynist policy capture.
I have posted some comments already but these have apparently been withdrawn as I don’t see them anywhere. I do hope that what feels like a corner turned for the Green Party nonetheless does not represent a narrowing of its appeal in the interests of one strand of identity politics. It has to be possible for people with strongly held views to respect the view of others. I really dislike the labelling of people as transphobic, misogynistic and bigoted when what they are doing by and large is raising legitimate questions in the context of social change. Questions of what we mean by ‘sex’, ‘gender’, ‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘binary’ and ‘non-binary’ will not go away just because we don’t want to address them. And for those people who might read my comments and think that I’ve simply missed to boat, that the debate has moved on, I would say it moves on only when we can do so without leaving too many good people behind.
those who refuse to accept that Transwomen are the same as women do not hate’ anyone, but merely disbelieve the claim.
the right to disbelieve, and to express this opinion in civilised debate, was recently upheld by the judge of an EAT. He said that equally, anyone has the right to believe that transwomen are women.
This is what freedom to hold opinions and to exercise free speech is about. there is nothing to be afraid of in people agreeing to differ on any subject and there is no point in using (misusing) disciplinary procedures in employment or in a political party to try and prevent people politely expressing disagreement.
As to conference having voted for ‘transwomen are women’, there is no evidence that the very close votes, for and against, represent the views of 50,000 members. the way forward is not to behave as though the issue is settled for all time, but to seek a composite that is supported by a large majority of the members. I believe that, with goodwill and the freedom to discuss, such a consensus can be achieved. this can be achieved. Preventing frank discussion cannot be justified.
This is a marvellous step forward for trans and non-binary people. Those who claim that trans women are inherently violent and dangerous, and that they should not be treated as women in places such as refuges, need to abandon their evidence-free assumptions about sex and gender. Let’s hope that this is the start of a trend away from hate and towards inclusion.
i know women who have left the green party over this and i know people who feel excluded from Labour over this as well..
no one says trans women cant live as women and be treated as women it is just sex based safe spaces for women are important and children do need to be protected from experimental drugs and surgery. why is it that the green party can recognize the tension between the environment and people and look to find away that helps us both but cant look for a compromise to protect trans people and to protect biological women and children.
rights of one do effect another unless your a child.
I think that is a good point.
Excellent news! Let’s hope that those bigots, reactionary stooges of the patriarchy that they are, find a political home elsewhere now. I’d suggest they have a look at the Tories… .
Lol , you lot are are on the wrong side of history – goodluvk with that
The irony of your post… It is the patriarchy in disguise that have brought about this horrific situation. You think it is women who have fought to lose their safe spaces?
Tory. Ok will do. Look forward to keeping women hating progressive parties out of government for eternity. Because keeping the sex based rights i value it turns out is the one thing that could persuade me to do that.
Some years ago when I was an active member, people were courteous to those with whom they disagreed. Being aggressively rude to others was common in the Labour Party, but not ours. Sadly this is no longer true and many good people have consequently left the party or are no longer active.
Are you serious about the climate? Are you serious about taking people with you?
The margins aren’t as generous as I’d like them to be, but this is really great news.
yep, you’d need to have burnt more witches to get more generous margins
The margin is about 50,000 members didn’t vote for the motion while about 300 did.
Or, about 50,000 didn’t vote against it but about 200 did vote against it. For anyone to be claim a “victory” for any idea on these sorts of votes is embarrassing. It makes us look just silly to anyone from outside the party who bothers to look inside. We get away with it because so few do. This has nothing to do with whether you support or oppose any motion carried on these sorts of miniscule votes. We need a far more meaningful way of deciding policy.
Absolutely shameful. The green party has made it abundantly clear they don’t care about women and children’s safety.
For that to be true, you need evidence. Where is it? Are there studies and reports showing violence and danger from trans people towards women or children? Without such evidence, all we have is your opinion based on… what?
I agree. I’m leaving the Green Party