For those of you who are unfamiliar with the legislation – I imagine most of you – if you are over 18, you can make an application to a Gender Recognition Panel constituted of doctors, psychologist and, as ever, a few leechy lawyers. The Panel “must”, according to the law, grant the application for a gender recognition certificate, if it is satisfied of the following. Firstly, that the applicant (a) has or has had gender dysphoria (b) that the applicant has “lived in the acquired gender throughout the period of two years ending with the date on which the application is made”, (c) intends to “live in the acquired gender until death” and (d) can produce two reports. One from either a registered medical practitioner “practicing in the field of gender dysphoria” or a psychologist with an interest in the same - and another from a common-or garden registered medical practitioner outlining the detail of the steps taken thus far to alter particular sexual characteristics and – I’m generalising here – basically confirm the diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
Much to do then, to acquire one of these gender recognition certificates, and a long roll of years intervening. Section 9(1) of the 2004 Act holds that
“Where a full gender recognition certificate is issued to a person, the person’s gender becomes for all purposes the acquired gender (so that, if the acquired gender is the male gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a man and, if it is the female gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a woman).”
According to the reports, A acquired this certificate in 2006. Unfortunately, thus far I’ve found it a bit difficult to get hold of the actual text of David
For myself, I think that if we are willing to accept the idea of gender dysphoria, if we are willing to enact the public recognition of individual’s gender transformations, it is only proper that this should be reflected in the manner people are incarcerated, and in what cohort of the prison estate they are billeted - if, that is, we are to insist on a gender-segregated system. I'll be interested to read the full judgement when I manage to find it. In particular, because it seems as if Elvin's judgement was under article 8 of the European Convention - privacy and family life - as opposed to some of the other sections which might have been relevant. While an eye to the detail is certainly important, casting a quick squint over the superficial surface characters, in principled terms, it seems as if Judge Elvin made the right decision.