A photo of campaigners at a trans rights march

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:

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”.

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.

PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.

PPS. Bright Green has an exciting series of events coming up. Join us for debates, interviews and much more.