The Women and Equalities Committee, which was formed in June to determine the success of the government’s equality policy, has revealed that its first inquiry will be into transgender rights.
The new parliamentary select committee will spend the next few months judging how far the U.K. needs to go before trans people have full equality.
“Many trans people still face discrimination and unfair treatment in their work, schools, healthcare and other important services,” said committee chair Maria Miller. “Transphobia and hate crimes are a cruel reminder that we have still have (sic) a great deal to do to achieve true equality for everyone.”
The creation of the Women and Equalities Committee is a historic step for equal rights. Although the government already has a legal obligation to uphold principles of equal rights, and there is an existing ministerial portfolio for women and equalities, previously there was no body dedicated to scrutinising it.
This is where the Women and Equalities Committee comes in. It will give MPs the power to set in motion inquiries into practices that exclude people on the grounds of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. And its remit is broad, covering age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
Trans issues the committee will investigate:
- The relationship between the Government Equalities Office and other government departments in dealing with transgender equality issues and how the U.K.’s performance compares internationally
- Discrimination against trans people in the armed forces
- Transphobia in the media
- Employment and workplace issues for trans people
- Hate crime against trans people
- How the criminal justice system treats trans people
- The aspect of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 which is referred to as the “spousal veto”
- The effectiveness of the Equality Act 2010 in relation to trans people
- Whether the Gender Recognition Act 2004 needs to be amended
- Diagnosis of gender dysphoria
- Access to gender reassignment treatment under the NHS
- NHS services for trans youth
- Issues concerning trans youth in the education system
- Issues concerning trans youth and social care services, including looked-after children
The committee is keen to hear views on specific issues to be considered for inclusion in future inquiries, stating that it “welcomes ideas from everyone” and full details of how to submit your views will be announced in September 2015. You can submit a written submission to the transgender equality inquiry here.
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