At an already dispiriting time for transgender and non-binary people, the Government has announced that the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) will not be reformed.
The planned reform to the Act would which would allow people to change their legal gender by “self-identifying” as male or female, letting transgender people change their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis.
A protest was held in Bristol in July 2020 amid fears that the changes would not take place.
In light of recent developments, another protest is planned for Sunday, October 18.
“Unfortunately, since the last fantastic trans rights protest in Bristol, there has been a wave of government action that has actively dismantled policies that keep trans and non-binary people safe,” says organiser Robin Morris.
“This protest is in solidarity with trans and non-binary people nationally and globally.”
Taking place at College Green from midday, the protest will take a stand against the scrapped reform, which would have made the process to change the gender marker on a birth certificate affordable, accessible and less medicalised.
The protest will also be a show of unity with transgender people across the UK, who are subject to increased violence and vitriol media coverage – in part due to misinformation spread by JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.
“JK Rowling, who has a huge social media platform, not only promotes and spreads transphobic ideology but is also now profiting off this very propaganda with her new publication,” says Robin.
Rowling’s new thriller Troubled Blood sold almost 65,000 copies in its first five day, amid widespread criticism of the author’s decision to include a serial killer who dresses in women’s clothing in the novel.
The protest will hear from speakers, and sign language interpreters will be present. Organisers ask for social distancing measures to followed and for face masks to be worn.
The day of action will be a united effort against transphobia, at a time when trans people across the UK and the world are being murdered on a weekly basis.
Despite 70 per cent of responses to a recent GRA consultation being in favour of self-identification, the UK Government’s scrapped GRA reform will roll back the hard-won rights of trans and non-binary people, and Bristol hopes to show that this will not be stood for.
Main photo: Nicky Ebbage