In the UK we now have ‘equal marriage’ because a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman. That is fantastic and truly a remarkable step forward. However I refuse to call it equal marriage because it is far from equal for some people in the UK.
What has ‘equal marriage’ done for transgender people? Yet again transgender people have been marginalised and ignored by LGBT equality changes.
Since 1971 transgender people have been without the rights of either their assigned or new gender. Yes you read that right – without rights! In 2004 the Gender Recognition Act created the Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) that enabled transgender people to obtain new birth certificates and some protection in law such as anti-discrimination in the workplace.
However a transgender person remained unable to obtain a GRC if they were married unless the marriage was ended before application for gender reassignment.
The Equal Marriage Act has not eliminated that injustice. Instead there is Spousal Veto. What does that mean? A transgender person can remain married but the marriage can only continue with the spouse’s consent. Without spousal permission the transgender person can only obtain an interim GRC until the marriage is ended. Given a transgender person will be well into the physical transition to new their gender by the time they apply for GRC spousal veto is a mute piece of legislation that can only make the transgender person feel discriminated against by the Equal Marriage Act, an act that does not make marriage equal.