BBC Radio Jersey: Wednesday 15 July 2015 (timecode: 02:33)
Pink News: Wednesday 15 July 2015
Channel Island equality charity Liberate and transgender support group Trans* Jersey have welcomed the proposal for same-sex marriage in Jersey lodged in the States Assembly today by the Chief Minister.
Chairman of Liberate in Jersey, Christian May, said: “We are heartened by the wording that the Chief Minister has chosen to use in his proposal that says, unequivocally, that ‘it would be unreasonable, and inappropriate, to continue to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to get married’. This is, of course, a sentiment that we share.”
Liberate also supports the Chief Minister’s decision to not propose legislation that compels religious groups to marry same-sex couples. Mr May said: “It is important that all the faith groups in our island reach their own conclusions on equal marriage and, if they decide they would like to celebrate it, to be able to do so when they are ready. The protections being proposed are proportionate and an appropriate response to the problem of allowing people the freedom to practice their religious beliefs within their sacred spaces without interference from the state, whilst not permitting discrimination against same-sex couples.”
Liberate supports the proposal’s recommendation of an overhaul of the divorce laws that place the emphasis on mediation and reconciliation before a divorce can be granted and a move towards no-fault divorces. Mr May said: “It is a sad fact that divorces happen to opposite-sex and same-sex couples in equal measure. Any legislation that takes some of the pain out of the process for the couple, and any children involved, is to be welcomed.”
The ability for a transgender partner in a marriage to transition and have their gender recognised in law without the so-called spousal veto that exists in England and Wales is good news for Trans* Jersey founder Vic Tanner Davy: “We welcome the re-examination being proposed for the process of gender recognition in the island and the commitment by the Chief Minister to follow the Scottish model for same-sex marriage that allows an opposite-sex marriage to seamlessly convert to a same-sex marriage, and vice versa, where someone transitions. There are a number of problems that exist currently for transgender people in Jersey looking to recognise their gender legally and we look forward to seeing more detail on this aspect of the proposal.”
The timetable for the implementation of the legal changes means that equal marriage could be a reality in Jersey by the end of 2017. Liberate is pleased that the process is still on-track despite a delay at the start of this year. Mr May said: “The proposal shows just how far-reaching and extensive the legislative changes need to be. It is right that Jersey undertakes the process thoroughly and examines all aspects of marriage at the same time as introducing same-sex marriage. Liberate understands that this will take time but that the end result will be worth the wait.”
The proposal can be downloaded here: http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/AssemblyPropositions/2015/P.77-2015.pdf
Trans* Jersey welcomes Jersey’s sex discrimination regulations that go further than the UK in their protections for people of non-binary genders.
The States of Jersey have passed regulations today that expand the island’s anti-discrimination legislation to encompass sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation and pregnancy and maternity. The new regulations, due to come into force on 1 September 2015, give protection to transgender islanders, but also protect all those who do not identify with the gender binary of man or woman.
Jersey has gone further than the UK’s Equality Act by recognising that there are more than two sexes. The island’s regulations explicitly protect intersex people as well as men and women from discrimination under the protected characteristic of sex.
“This is an important inclusion that recognises a small and often misunderstood section of society. It makes clear the distinction between intersex and transgender people – a common misconception – and it allows those who were born neither biologically male nor female and who identify as intersex to do so, knowing that they do not have to choose man or woman if they do not want to and they will still be protected from discrimination under the law,” said Vic Tanner Davy, Founder of Trans* Jersey.
For the 1-2% of the population that experience some degree of gender dysphoria (a feeling that your gender identity does not match the gender role assigned to you by society), they are also given protection under the new regulations. Jersey’s regulations state that a person is transgender whether or not they intend to have medical intervention to transition. This, again, goes further than the UK in its protection.
Trans* Jersey’s founder, Vic Tanner Davy, said: “Not everyone who experiences gender dysphoria will take steps to do anything about it. As well as those who decide to transition, the regulations protect those who identify as any one of a number of genders that can be termed genderqueer from discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
“The trans* community in its widest sense is at its most vulnerable from physical and verbal abuse when it does not fit society’s ideal of men or women. This means that those early in their transition or those who cannot, or do not want to, transition are the most likely to experience discrimination. Jersey has recognised this and put in place protections. We are pleased that Jersey is leading the UK in this and we congratulate the States members on their decision today.”
Trans* Jersey is offering training sessions for organisations on how to deal with trans* employees and service users ahead of the new legislation coming in on 1 September 2015. They can be contacted by email: email@example.com
Trans* Jersey highlights the need to provide options for people of non-binary genders.
1-2% of the population experience some degree of gender dysphoria (a feeling that your gender identity does not match the gender role assigned to you by society). Not everyone who experiences this misalignment will take steps to do anything about it. However, some will, and when they do they may wish to adopt a new title, such as “Mx”, a gender-neutral alternative to “Mr” or “Ms”.
When Erin Bisson, a Jersey trans woman, went to change the title on her documents with various organisations, she found that her preferred title of Mx was not always an option open to her and some seemed baffled by her request. Mx Bisson says: “It should not be difficult and, quite frankly, it should be by choice. Personally, I am so happy and proud to be transgender, and I would like my title to reflect that.”
Trans* Jersey’s founder, Vic Tanner Davy, said: “I am not surprised by Erin’s experience. Unless you are trans* or know of someone who is, you may not realise that there are people who don’t identify as either a man or a woman. The Mx title allows those people whose gender is fluid to show ID documents that match their presentation, irrespective of whether their appearance is masculine or feminine on the day their ID has to be shown.”
Trans* Jersey is aware that the Social Security Department is currently looking into adding Mx as a gender-neutral option for customers. Vic Tanner Davy says: “It would be a very positive step towards equality for the trans* community if all the States departments could offer this option. If you are someone who has a title, like Senator, Advocate, Reverend or Doctor, and you have ever felt aggrieved when it is dropped or misused, you will understand how it feels to be called a title that does not correctly represent you. It is the same for trans* people.”
Whilst other organisations catch up, Mx Bisson has received her new debit card from NatWest and she is delighted. She said: “I was surprised. They handled it very quickly and, although there was a problem at first, they handled it very professionally, and I have a card with my preferred title on it.” NatWest are now training their employees on the use of Mx as an optional title.
Trans* Jersey is very happy to assist to any organisation who would like to offer gender-neutral options on forms and computer systems. They are also pleased to offer organisations training sessions on how to deal with trans* service users. They can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jersey Evening Post: Monday 1 December 2014
BBC Radio Jersey: Sunday 30 November 2014 (timecode: 01:04)
Pink News: Friday 28 November 2014
Jersey Evening Post: Wednesday 26 November 2014
Jersey Evening Post: Thursday 27 November 2014
Channel Television: Wednesday 26 November 2014
BBC Radio Jersey: Wednesday 26 November 2014 (timecode: 01:07)
BBC News: Wednesday 26 November 2014
Bailiwick Express: Thursday 27 November 2014
Trans* Jersey welcomes the Chief Minister’s report on equal marriage, especially its handling of the particular trans issue of the spousal veto.
Trans* Jersey met with Chief Minister, Ian Gorst, to discuss the findings of the consultation into the question of whether it is appropriate to introduce legislation to equalise marriage in Jersey. The resulting report is a significant document that has been compiled with consideration of both sides of the argument for and against equal marriage and, as such, is welcomed by Trans* Jersey.
Trans* Jersey’s founder, Vic Tanner Davy, said: “We are impressed by the work done by the Chief Minister and his department in addressing all aspects of the issue thoroughly and with great understanding.”
Vic Tanner Davy again: “The spousal veto is a nasty piece of legislation that demands a trans person in a marriage asks permission of their spouse before applying for their gender recognition certificate, which makes them for all legal purposes their affirmed gender. This inclusion in the England and Wales law spoke to the concerns of some MPs that the non-trans party to an opposite-sex marriage would be forced into a same-sex marriage because of their spouse’s legal transition.
“In reality, a person’s transition does not happen overnight. It takes at least two years of living as your affirmed gender before you can apply for a gender recognition certificate in the UK. During those two years, a trans person will have undergone gender therapy, most likely started hormone therapy and may have had gender reassignment surgery. If their spouse is still with them at the point that the trans partner applies for their gender recognition certificate, they will already be aware that they are living in a marriage that, to the outsider, has changed.
“Transitioning is difficult and stressful at times as every trans person endeavours to maintain partnerships and family relationships intact throughout the process. The last thing they need is added pressure from the state intervening in what is a private matter between the two people who are party to the union. We are, therefore, delighted that the Chief Minister has taken this into consideration and will be proposing the Scottish model for dealing with the issue. This will enable marriages to change seamlessly between same-sex and opposite-sex with no requirement for divorce and re-marriage or for spousal permission when one party to a marriage transitions.”
Channel TV: 27 November 2014
Guernsey Press: 21 November 2014:
On 27 November 2014, the Channel Island charity Liberate (supported by Trans* Jersey) is holding its first Rainbow Mufti Day and they are encouraging businesses, government offices, schools, places of worship, clubs and associations in the islands to get involved. Liberate are asking all Channel Island workplaces to fly a rainbow flag or allow their employees, members or pupils to dress in brightly coloured clothes to show the world that the islands support equality.
This year, Jersey has introduced the first of its anti-discrimination laws that protects all islanders’ from discrimination on the basis of race. Next year, the law will be extended to offer protection on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation and gender reassignment. Following that, protection for age and disability will be introduced. Liberate’s call for Jersey and Guernsey to show their support for their employees, members and pupils no matter what their race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, belief, age or disability is, therefore, timely.
It is also no coincidence that the day marks the anniversary of, San Francisco city supervisor, Harvey Milk‘s assassination in 1978. Milk was an early campaigner for equal rights for the gay community of the city and the first openly gay US citizen to be elected to public office. Thankfully, we live in a more enlightened age now and there are many LGBTQ people in public life. However, inequalities for minorities within society still exist and Liberate is prompting Channel Islanders consider some of these on 27 November 2014 and to then take steps to make changes that make their workplace more inclusive.Although the rainbow flag is strongly associated with the LGBTQ community, its symbolic meaning is one of inclusion and equality for all. It was designed by San Franciscan, Gilbert Baker in 1978 and has undergone several revisions since. The modern flag has six predominant stripes, each colour carrying a different meaning: Red – Life. Orange – Healing. Yellow – Sunlight. Green – Nature. Blue – Serenity or harmony. Violet – Spirituality.
Liberate are hoping to make Rainbow Mufti Day an annual event so, if you don’t have a rainbow flag, why not get one this year that can be used again, and again! Flags can be obtained by emailing email@example.com. We have a supply of 5ft x 3ft flags for £5.00 and 3ft x 2ft flags for £4.00 each (the price includes a small donation to Liberate’s funds). We can also order other sizes if your flag pole requires it!
If you would like to raise money to help Liberate’s work, why not take up a collection from those not wearing something brightly coloured on 27 November or bake rainbow cakes to sell? To find out more about Liberate’s work and how to donate, please visit: www.liberate.gg
Liberate hopes you will show your colours on 27 November 2014 with others across the islands by joining in this initiative.
BBC Radio Jersey: Sunday 19 October 2014 (timecode: 01:52)
Jersey Evening Post: Friday 10 October 2014
BBC Radio Jersey: Saturday 11 October 2014 (timecode: 01:07)
Channel Island equality charity Liberate and affiliate group Trans*Jersey asked those standing for election to the States of Jersey for their view on LGBTQ issues. The results show a strong commitment to equality by the 2014 election hopefuls.
Liberate and Trans* Jersey emailed all 69 candidates standing for election to the States of Jersey asking them to complete an online questionnaire about the most pressing issues affecting the island’s LGBTQ community. 45 candidates responded (65%), of which 9 did not complete the questionnaire.
Jersey Co-ordinator for Liberate Vic Tanner Davy said:
“We are really pleased with the response from the election candidates to our questionnaire and we would like to thank those who took the time to do so. The fact that 65% of the candidates responded demonstrates that there is a realisation that LGBTQ issues will need to be addressed by the States in the coming term if Jersey is going to be taken seriously as a modern democracy that believes in equality for all its citizens regardless of race, gender, sexuality or ability.
“Even those candidates who did not feel they could complete the questionnaire demonstrated a willingness to engage with us and our issues, which is encouraging.”
The full answers and comments provided by candidates can be accessed here: Link to survey results
Support for equal marriage: Of the 35 respondents to this question, 28 (80%) were in favour of same-sex civil marriage and same-sex religious marriage that includes an opt-out for faiths who do not wish to celebrate same-sex marriages.
Support for civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples: Of the 34 respondents to this question, 28 (82%) were in favour of opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples.
Inconclusive response to the question of how to equalise adultery under the law: Of the 31 respondents to this question, 42% wanted to introduce adultery as grounds for dissolving a civil partnership, 32% wanted a new definition of adultery in law and 23% wanted to remove adultery as grounds for divorce in marriage.
Support for no discrimination exemptions (with the exception of religious organisations): Of the 32 respondents to this question, 28 (88%) were against any exemptions for businesses or service providers allowing them to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender reassignment.
Some support for introducing the “X” marker: Of the 29 respondents to this question, 23 (79%) were in favour of introducing the use of the internationally recognised “X” marker by the passport office and registry office, allowing those who wish to register themselves as gender-neutral or intersex to do so.
Overwhelming support for allowing same-sex couples to adopt: All 32 respondents to this question were in favour of same-sex couples being allowed to adopt as a couple.
Some support for inclusive sex education in schools: Of the 29 respondents to this question, 24 (83%) were in favour of compulsory, age-appropriate, LGBTQ-inclusive Sex and Relationship Education in all schools.
Some support for removing the ban on blood donation by homosexual men: Of the 25 respondents to this question, 21 (84%) were in favour of removing the restriction.
Some support for self-reporting of gender transition: Of the 22 respondents to this question, 21 (96%) were in favour of removing the requirement to have obtained a gender recognition certificate from another jurisdiction before a transperson’s gender could be registered in the Royal Court.
Jersey Co-ordinator for Liberate Vic Tanner Davy said:
“It is clear from the number of responses to each question that the issues of equal marriage and discrimination have been well aired and are well understood by the candidates. The other issues that are of importance to LGBTQ islanders are not so familiar and caused candidates some problems in answering. Many felt they did not have enough information to respond at present. This shows us where we need to do some work to better inform our elected representatives.
“The most pleasing result was the overwhelming support for a change to allow same-sex couples to adopt as a couple. The comments from candidates on this issue highlighted the importance of placing children in loving homes irrespective of the gender of the adoptive parents. This view from the candidates is something we will be looking to build on and we will seek to work with the States on it sooner rather than later.”
Those candidates who chose not to engage with the LGBTQ community by responding to the questionnaire were: Gerard Baudains, Jane Blakeley, Simon Bree, Rod Bryans, Ian Gorst, Andrew Green, Angela Jeune, David Johnson, Konrad Kruszynski, Russell Labey, Chris Lamy, John le Bailly, Andrew Lewis, Kevin Lewis, Murray Norton, Mary Osmond, Darius Pearce, Susie Pinel, Hugh Raymond, Richard Renouf, David Richardson, Richard Rondel, Paul Routier, Graham Truscott.
To find out more about the candidates who are standing in your parish or district, go to vote.je where a full list of candidates can be found. Election day is 15 October so don’t forget to vote!