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Ministers have drawn up a blacklist of countries that they say allow people to change gender too easily – meaning their citizens will be forced to comply with tougher British rules if they move to the UK.
Whitehall sources say that more than 50 countries and US states, including New Zealand, Belgium and California, have been removed from a list of jurisdictions regarded as having sufficiently robust processes for recognising gender.
The move comes amid growing concern within the Government about the relaxation of gender-recognition rules around the world.
In New Zealand, people can change gender simply by filling in an application form, making a statutory declaration and providing photo ID.
Ministers have drawn up a blacklist of countries that they say allows people to change gender too easily
Liz Truss will this week introduce a Bill to the House of Commons that would prevent the State from formally recognising social transitioning by under-18s
The reform is likely to focus attention on Labour’s flip-flopping on gender policies: leader Sir Keir Starmer has previously expressed his support for people being able to self-identify their gender, only to back away after an attempt by former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to introduce the change in Scotland triggered a political storm.
Following the change, individuals coming to the UK from those countries will no longer be automatically issued with a gender-recognition certificate, which allows people to be legally recognised as their preferred gender on all legal documents such as drivers’ licences.
Under the current British rules, people can receive a certificate only if they are aged over 18, have a medical diagnosis for gender dysphoria and have lived in their preferred gender for at least two years.
Arrivals from the 50 jurisictions being taken off the list, which also include the US states of New Jersey and Maine, will now have to apply for a UK certificate.
Last night, a Government source said the list had not been updated for more than a decade – during which time a number of countries had relaxed their rules.
The source said: ‘Lots of countries are out of kilter with the UK now so this is about redressing the balance and making sure it if someone has a gender-recognition certificate, they have gone through the same process as everyone else.’
Other countries that allow gender self-identification, where no judge or medical expert are involved, include Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Denmark, while Germany, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands are considering similar legislation.
A year ago, a law introducing gender self-ID in Scotland was vetoed by the Government.
Shortly afterwards, Sir Keir abandoned Labour’s support for a gender self-ID policy – allowing people to legally change gender without a medical diagnosis – but stated that the party still supported making the process of obtaining a gender recognition certificate far simpler and less invasive by removing a panel of doctors and lawyers from the process.
Tory strategists are planning to highlight Labour’s ‘woke’ policies on issues such as trans rights in the run-up to the election as part of an attempt to use culture wars as a vote-winning dividing line.
Sir Keir Starmer has previously expressed his support for people being able to self-identify their gender, only to back away after an attempt by former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to introduce the change in Scotland triggered a political storm