So recently the press has been awash with articles and stories about the new transgender marriage laws and in the last few weeks Transport for London announced that they are scrapping the use of the phrase “Ladies and Gentlemen” in their announcements.
This really got me thinking about the whole raft of ways in which gender neutral and transsexual people must feel alienated by society. At present transsexuals are prevented from marrying in their adopted sex and are affected by the age at which they can qualify for their pension even if they have gender reassignment surgery.
I have read many arguments for and against the new transsexual marriage rights and it strikes me that most of the arguments for this law are centred around it not having a negative impact for the majority of society whilst having a positive impact on a small number of society.
As part of the new marriage rights transsexuals will be allowed to marry in their adoptive sex and will also be able to apply for a birth certificate reflecting their new gender. Across Europe many countries already embrace this and we are frankly lagging behind. Transsexuals will have to meet certain requirements in order to register under a new gender, however, having had gender reassignment surgery is NOT one of them.
Of course, there are strong arguments against this and the majority are hinge on why we need to make these changes for such a small minority of our society? The transsexual population represents approximately 5,000 people in this country. However, if we want to hold ourselves up as a nation that advocates and is pro-active in human rights and equality then surely this is to be welcomed with open arms? How can we be comfortable to continue in a situation that allows some to suffer whilst others thrive? This is not a world I want to live in!
It is not known when this new law will come into force, so in the same way same sex couples were in limbo awaiting the new marriage act, transsexuals are also in a hold position awaiting their very own law reform.
Of course, it would be plain ridiculous if I did not mention at this point that Celebrants are totally inclusive and actively embrace people from all sections of the community. Celebrants welcome diversity and the way in which they craft their ceremonies means they are always open to creating a ceremony their couples want. Personally, nothing excites me more than my clients asking me for something they are not able to get elsewhere so transsexual ceremonies always excite me. I never wanted to be a person that has to say “sorry you can’t do that”.
So whilst this development is exciting news for transsexuals and the move towards equality, for Celebrants this is something we have being doing for some time!