Wednesday, 3 July 2013

An open letter to Lady Stowell

Dear Lady Stowell,

In the past few years, significant steps have been taken to improve the
rights of same sex couples in the recognition of their relationships in
law. Individuals who have long been unable to make their long term partner
their spouse and enjoy the same benefits as opposite sex couples are now
much closer to enjoying equality.

As an individual who is married, I am delighted that others who wish to do
so will soon be able to marry as I have done. However, although I am married I
continue to be an individual, and as an individual I am also horrified at the idea
that one partner could have the casting vote over the recognition of identity of

Marriage should be a partnership of equals, and this is not the case if one
partner has the right to deny the other something fundamental to their
identity and well-being. People who are trans already face incredible
obstacles in terms of discrimination, social isolation, vulnerability to
attack and huge prejudice. At a time when they have gathered their strength
to make vital and life-changing decisions about themselves, to make their
recognition beholden to a third party who may be vested in keeping them
from realising their needs heaps injustice on injustice.

I have no idea how I would respond if my partner outed themselves as trans
and decided to transition. The one thing I would never presume to do would
be to try and stop them, but there are those who, for whatever reason,
would seek to do so. By removing self-determination from those people, you
are making them less than human. That has to stop.

Yours sincerely,

Mme G


The letter above relates to the Campaign for Equal Marriage's call for individuals to lobby Baroness Stowell to drop the spousal veto clause in the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill that's currently progressing through the legislative process. The clause includes an amendment to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and provides for the spouse of a married person who wishes to complete transition from one gender to another and acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate if they wish their marriage to continue.

As C4EM point out, that wouldn't be a problem if all partners were understanding, open and accepting of their spouse's desire, wish and need to transition. However, that isn't the case and research has shown that some 44% of trans people's partners have actively tried to prevent them from transitioning and 29% of partners made it difficult for their trans spouse to get a divorce.

By requiring someone to seek consent from someone else in order to fulfil their own basic human needs you are reducing them to the level of a child, or even a posession. This can't be right.

If you want to do your bit, you can write to Baroness Stowell here and make your own views known.

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