Truvision Launched


The States of Jersey Police today released their newest weapon in combatting hate crime – Truvision, an online tool that enables anyone in the community who experiences an hate crime to report it.

Some facts you should know about hate crime –

  • Hate crime happens in Jersey;
  • Hate crime can happen to anyone not just people from minority groups;
  • A hate crime happens where it is perceived that the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against any person or property is on the grounds of the victim’s ethnicity (race), sexual orientation, gender identity (including transgender), religion, disability;
  • Hate crimes and incidents have one of the highest repeat victimisation rates;
  • Hate crime can take many forms including physical assault; criminal damage to property; verbal abuse – name calling; intimidation; harassment;
  • The perpetrator of the hate crime doesn’t not have to be right about their reason for hating the victim, e.g. calling a straight person “gay” and beating them up for this misconception is still a hate crime;
  • Hate crime does not have to happen to you to report it – you can report a hate crime you have witnessed;
  • Hate crime can have a long lasting (longer lasting than other crimes) effect on the mental health of the victim;
  • The police take hate crime seriously.

Hate crime is under reported across the UK (including Jersey and, particularly, by the trans community) for a number of reasons – one of which is that some people are wary of talking to the Police face-to-face or over the phone. Maybe they don’t trust the Police because they had a bad experience in the past or maybe they feel they won’t explain themselves clearly enough to be taken seriously. Truvision addresses this problem.

Truvision allows reports to be made anonymously or you can elect to leave your contact details for a follow up. You can also report a hate crime on behalf of someone else who, perhaps, doesn’t have Internet access or the ability to use a computer. Importantly, if you report a hate crime using Truvision, anonymously or otherwise, your report will be added to the statistics on hate crime in Jersey, giving the Police a much better idea of how widespread the problem is.

To find out more, visit

GRC not fit for purpose

GRC-application-formTwo significant reports dropped into the Trans* Jersey inbox this week. Both highlight the need for a complete review of the gender recognition process in the UK by which a trans individual “becomes” their recognised gender in the eyes of the law. This is significant for us in Jersey as we have “outsourced” our gender recognition process to any other jurisdiction whose legal system/courts we recognise including and, most usually, the UK.

What is the gender recognition process?

At present, a Jersey trans individual who requires a gender recognition certificate (“GRC”) travels the following route through the UK system:

  • Live as their recognised gender for two years;
  • Collect proof that they have been living as their recognised gender for two years, e.g. letter from gender therapist, letter from GP, passport/driving licence showing recognised gender, invoices from utility companies showing title in line with recognised gender, pay slips from employer showing title in line with recognised gender, etc;
  • Apply to the Gender Recognition Panel (“GRP”) in the UK (although this could be any other jurisdiction that Jersey recognises) including the documentary proof gathered as evidence and a fee of £140;
  • Wait for the GRP to decide on whether they will issue a GRC. There is no automatic requirement to appear before the panel. The GRP’s judgement is made based on the documents submitted. However, if the documents are not satisfactory, the GRP can call for further evidence that might include an appearance before them;
  • Once the GRP rule that a GRC can be issued, the GRC must be passed through the Royal Court in Jersey and Jersey will then also issue a GRC.

At this point, the trans individual is their recognised gender legally in Jersey.

The above assumes a trans individual who does not have a spouse. If the trans individual applying for a GRC is married or in a civil partnership, things get more complex. The GRC legislation in England and Wales requires the trans individual to divorce/dissolve the marriage/partnership before a GRC will be granted and, if the spouse disagrees with that, they get to veto the trans spouse’s GRC application.Scottish law does not include this so called “spousal veto”.

Jersey’s same-sex marriage law will be following the Scottish model in allowing someone in a marriage/civil partnership who wishes to transition to do so seamlessly without the requirement to divorce/dissolve the partnership. However, this is then inconsistent with “outsourcing” Jersey’s GRC procedure to a jurisdiction (the UK) that has legislation that includes the spousal veto. This is a problem that the States of Jersey will need to address before 2017 when equal marriage legislation is due to come into force.

So, why bother with a GRC at all?

Some trans people don’t. Changing their gender on their passports is enough to do what they need to do in life. For others, not having their gender legally recognised could be problematic. For example, if the trans person wishes to marry as their recognised gender and not as the gender they were assigned at birth.

Some trans people may also wish to amend all records that show them to be trans and to protect any records that divulge their status from public scrutiny. This may be for reasons of personal safety. A GRC affords those people a greater level of protection in this regard than, say, the data protection or discrimination law. The amendment of records extends to birth certificates. Having a GRC is the only way to amend your birth certificate.

What needs to happen?

The two reports are consistent in their assessment of the GRC process as no longer fit for purpose.

The main criticisms of the system are:

  • it is long-winded and difficult to navigate;
  • in practice, it requires evidence of medical treatment before the GRP will grant a GRC, despite this supposedly not being a requirement;
  • applying to a panel, who may or may not be qualified in gender matters, for recognition of one’s gender identity is inappropriate and humiliating;
  • the financial cost of the application is greater than the fee of £140 as gathering the evidence required also incurs costs;
  • it does not allow for someone to identify as neither man nor woman;
  • the requirement for someone to have lived for two years as their recognised gender before being eligible is arbitrary and unreasonable;
  • the minimum age limit of 18 is out of line with other legislation that acknowledges young people can make life changing decisions from 16 onwards;
  • the link between having one’s gender recognised legally and the protection of a trans person’s personal data created by the gender recognition legislation leads to people being inappropriately asked for GRCs before transactions that should not require sight of a GRC will be carried out by employers, government departments, etc.

In short, both reports draw the same conclusion that gender identity should not be based on a diagnosis of gender dysphoria but should be self-determined by the person concerned.

The States of Jersey have an golden opportunity now in their work on the same-sex marriage law to do the right thing by the trans community and make the process by which a trans person “becomes” their recognised gender in the eyes of the law simple, affordable, inclusive and self-reporting. Trans* Jersey will be working towards this in 2016.

You can read the full reports here:

UK Trans Info’s report: “Gender Recognition: Where Next?”

House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee: “Transgender Equality”

Pathway to Care leaflet

Trans* Jersey has now produced a Pathway to Care leaflet for islanders wishing to transition. The full document can be downloaded here.

The leaflet has been produced in consultation with the various States of Jersey health departments that are used when a person transitions in Jersey.

It is suggested that you download the leaflet, print it and take a copy with you when you go to see your GP.

In due course, Trans* Jersey will be providing all the island’s GPs with a copy of the leaflet.


Manifesto 2014

Trans* Jersey’s manifesto defines the problems faced by transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, androgynous, bigender and intersex Jersey residents in 2014 and explains what actions we intend to take to address these issues.

DoctorTrans* Jersey believes that the island’s trans population is being patchily served by GPs and the States of Jersey Health and Social Services (“H&SS”) Department. This is due to the lack of clear guidelines for healthcare professionals working with trans patients. Individual clinicians within the H&SS Department are not seen to be at fault and, once the H&SS Department has been accessed, experiences of care have been good to excellent, largely through the efforts of the clinician acting on their own initiative. However, the initial route into healthcare for trans patients is unclear. The evidence suggests that the quality of healthcare provided is also influenced by the tenacity and perseverance of the trans individual being treated.

GenderRecActTrans* Jersey supports the calls by trans* organisations in the UK that the process for procuring a gender recognition certificate (“GRC”) needs revision. The Gender Recognition (Jersey) Law 2010 allows for a GRC from a recognised jurisdiction to be passed in the Royal Court. Any revisions that happen to the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004 as a result of the consultation happening with trans* organisations will, therefore, directly affect trans islanders. At present, Jersey has no mechanism by which to issue a GRC. However, this may change if trans* organisations within the UK are successful in calling for the Gender Recognition Act to be scrapped and for the issuance of a GRC to be an administrative process driven by the trans individual.

lawTrans* Jersey is committed to ensuring that all States of Jersey legislation that directly affects trans* islanders is scrutinised and responded to on behalf of the Jersey trans* community in order to safeguard our human rights. Trans* Jersey is currently preparing a response to both the States of Jersey consultation on sex discrimination and the imminent debate on equal marriage. Trans* Jersey will also be reviewing all legislation in force to ensure that there are no revisions that need to be called for.

equal marriageTrans* Jersey believes that equal marriage legislation is essential to ensure that trans islanders are not discriminated against, and that any equal marriage law introduced in Jersey should not contain the so-called Spousal Veto. Trans islanders who are married or in a civil partnership at the time of their transition have no option currently but to get divorced before they can acquire a full GRC. On the granting of a full GRC, the couple may formalise their partnership again by having another wedding ceremony. This situation is patently in violation of all human rights.

TeacherTrans* Jersey believes that education is the key to many of the issues faced by trans* individuals in society and is therefore committed to providing opportunities and resources to cisgender islanders in order that they can learn more about the trans* population. In the coming months, Trans* Jersey will be seeking conversations with private schools and the States of Jersey Education, Sport and Culture (“ES&C”) Department about including trans* issues within the sex education curriculum.

These are not the only issues faced by trans* individuals in Jersey, but they are the most important ones to be addressed. We are a small group with no financial backing. This manifesto is, therefore, necessarily realistic in its aims. It is not possible to hit all targets at once so we are being selective. Once progress has been made on these issues, we can turn our attention to other areas where reform is needed.

You can download the complete manifesto as a pdf here.

The gender pyramind

This is Trans* Jersey’s patented gender pyramid that explains how sex and gender are related.

Sex is at the top of pyramid because it has the smallest number of possible variations and is, therefore, the narrowest. It is also the least significant factor in all of this – although those who struggle with the issue of transgenderism would have you believe it is the most important. It is shown as either blue or pink – male or female. (We know blue and pink are a cliché, but had we used yellow and green, you would have had to remember that men were yellow and women were green, so we went with the accepted norm!) Currently, it is impossible to completely change your sex. You can go some way towards altering physical/cosmetic aspects, but no male can yet have a functioning uterus and ovaries implanted, and no female can yet have functioning testes implanted.

The middle layer of the pyramid is your gender identity. It represents where you feel you fit on the spectrum and how you would like to be perceived by the world. We’ve called this being a man or a woman. It is not quite as deeply embedded as sex and there is a greater blurring of the line between blue and pink on the pyramid.

The third layer of the pyramid we have called gender expression. By this, we mean the way that an individual is received by the world. Do they act, react, dress, in a more feminine or masculine way? It is the most fluid of all the layers, with a spectrum of pink to blue on which an individual may fall at any point.
Gender pyramidSo, let’s take a look at some famous faces and start a debate! We’ve selected Marilyn Monroe (A) and George W Bush (H) as polar opposites on the feminine-masculine scale. There is no doubt in the mind of the onlooker that their presentation, gender, and sex are aligned.

Moving in from them on the scale, we have selected Sharon Cohen (B) and Ian Harvie (G). Sharon is a glamorous, curvaceous brunette who won Eurovision in 1998. There is no doubt that she is a very feminine woman, but she was born male. Ian is a bearded, stand-up comedian who grew up in a rural mountain town in Maine. He is a masculine man, but he was born female. They are both transsexual.

Next on the scale are singers George O’Dowd (C) and k.d. Lang (F). When both singers first appeared on the music scene the fact that their presentation was at odds with their gender and sex caused confusion for the public at large. However, just because society was confused, it doesn’t mean that they are, and so cannot be considered transgender. As far as we are aware, they identify happily as homosexual, which by definition means George is a man who loves men and k.d. is a woman who loves women. They both happen to be homosexual, but, as someone like Grayson Perry proves, this is not a given when you queer your gender.

Finally, converging in the centre are Sue Perkins (D) and David Beckham (E). Sitting centrally on the scale indicates a level of androgyny in a person’s presentation. There is no doubt about Sue and David’s gender or sex, unlike that of George and k.d. However, David’s light voice, attention to his grooming, and soft features are, arguably, more feminine characteristics. Sue’s career, style of dress, and forthright views are, arguably, more masculine characteristics. It’s a grey area, but that’s the point.

Take a moment and consider where you sit on the sex and gender scales. Are you a straight down the line Marilyn or George, or does your sex/gender line weave about a bit?

Gender recognition process

Image54The main reason that a transgender person would apply for a gender recognition certificate is to amend the sex that they were assigned at birth on their birth certificate.

You do not require a gender recognition certificate to acquire a passport in your recognised gender in Jersey. With the amendment to the Marriage and Civil Status (Jersey) Law in 2018 there is also now no requirement for a gender recognition certificate in order to marry as your recognised gender, Jersey’s marriage law is now effectively “blind” when it comes to the gender of the two people marrying.

The current process for acquiring a gender recognition certificate in Jersey involves acquiring a gender recognition certificate from another approved jurisdiction first, presenting that to the Royal Court, who will then issue the applicant with a Jersey gender recognition certificate. In effect, Jersey has “outsourced” the decision regarding issuing a gender recognition certificate to one of its citizens to other jurisdictions. Inevitably, in Jersey’s case, this means being reliant on the UK process for gender recognition.

In January 2016, the Women’s and Equality Committee produced a report (see section 3 of the report) investigating amongst other things the Gender Recognition Act and the gender recognition process for trans people. As a result, both the UK and Scottish parliaments are considering amending the Gender Recognition Act that is widely seen as unfit for purpose and a degrading process for trans people.

Irrespective of what the UK decides to do about its legislation, Liberate believes that this outsourcing model abdicates the States of Jersey’s responsibility of care to its transgender citizens and that there exists an opportunity for Jersey’s government to put in place an exemplary self-declaration process that is closer to the ones seen in other countries in Europe, which does not medicalise or pathologise transgender islanders or ask them to submit a body of evidence of their gender to an unseen panel.

Other countries

Whilst progress to amend the UK’s law has stalled, there are some countries that have already implemented the self-declaration model, so Jersey would not be breaking new ground if it were to follow them:

Ireland – Gender Recognition Bill (2015)

A person over the age of 18 can change their gender by way of a ‘statutory declaration’. A guide to Ireland’s process can be found here.

Malta – Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (2015)

A person over the age of 16 can change their gender by way of a ‘statutory declaration’ –

Norway – Legal Gender Amendment Act (2016)

Any person over the age of 16 can change their gender and name by submitting a short document to the local tax office. Young people between 6 and 16 can access the process if at least one parent consents to it –

Argentina – Gender Identity Law (2012)

A person over the age of 18 can change their name and gender by submitting a document to the National Bureau of Vital Statistics. The law also gives adults access to sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy as a part of their public or private health care plans –

Portugal – Gender identity law (2018)

A person over the age of 16 can change their gender by making a statutory declaration. The legislation also makes it illegal to perform unnecessary surgery on intersex babies –

Belgium – Legal Gender Recognition Law (2017)

A person from the age of 16 can change their gender by submitting a document to the civil registry. The process includes a three-month waiting period –

Denmark also has self-declaration, but with a six-month waiting time –

Liberate is not in favour of any waiting time because, as the article says, a “waiting period may also perpetuate misconceptions of trans people as being “confused” about their gender, instead of encouraging them to change their documents quickly so that they can participate fully and freely in all aspects of life.”

Progress: Liberate has met with the Judicial Greffier to discuss what can be done within existing law as it stands to facilitate a self-declaration-style process for transgender islanders.

Transgender healthcare

Image44There is currently a lack of gender therapy skills in Jersey, which means that the pathway to care for someone with gender dysphoria (a transgender person) who is seeking hormone therapy to transition is –

  • An appointment with your GP in Jersey, who then refer to…
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) or Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS) in Jersey, who then refer to…
  • The NHS Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) in the UK.

The above process currently takes on average 18 months for the first appointment at the GIC in the UK. It is highly unlikely that any hormone therapy would be prescribed at a first appointment, so it is likely that at least two appointments in the UK would be required for a patient, lengthening the time further before any treatment commences.

For someone who is clear about their gender identity and has no underlying mental health conditions the process of sending them via Mental Health Services is inappropriate, complicated, lengthy, costly to the States of Jersey and could be delivered on-island by a GP with some skills in gender identity issues in consultation with the States of Jersey Endocrinology Department.

For someone who would like to talk to a therapist about their gender identity before taking any steps to transition and has no complicating mental health conditions the process could also be delivered on-island without referral to the critical care of CAMHS or AMHS by a local psychotherapist/psychologist with an understanding of gender identity issues in consultation with the patient’s GP and the States of Jersey Endocrinology Department.

In a small proportion of cases where there is a serious mental health issue in addition to a desire to undertake a gender transition, the current pathway to care may be appropriate. For the majority of cases, it is not and is placing an unnecessary burden on over-stretched critical care mental health services in Jersey.

The World Health Organisation declassified gender incongruence as a mental health condition in June this year –

Due to the distress caused by the long waiting times for transgender patients for their first appointment with someone who can actually assist them with hormone therapy we know that there are GPs in Jersey who are prescribing hormones as an interim measure to alleviate the patient’s distress until they can access the GIC in the UK.

Background note: the gender therapists working in the GIC (or privately) in the UK are not trained as such. There is no qualification that a medical professional can get to qualify them as a gender therapist. Gender therapists are trained psychotherapists/psychologists who have experience of dealing with or written research papers regarding or otherwise have an interest in gender issues.

The solution

We need to provide the island’s GPs and psychotherapists/psychologists with the skills to service transgender clients in Jersey. This would remove the burden of transgender patients automatically being seen by Mental Health Services, releasing those professionals for critical cases that need them.

GPs particularly need support so, where they are prescribing hormones to alleviate distress, they are doing so with an understanding of gender issues. They also then have the skills to know whether to refer to a therapist or whether the patient is clear about their gender identity and desire to transition and that transition can be managed at primary care level.

Having up-skilled GPs and psychotherapists/psychologists, there should be no barrier to Jersey being able to provide hormone therapy to transgender patients without recourse to the NHS, saving the cross-charges associated with that referral and relieving a stretched service in the NHS of a burden.


Having achieved self-sufficiency with regard to hormone therapy, it is unlikely that the island would be able to do the same for most of the specialist surgical procedures required by transgender patients.

The States of Jersey would need to agree a new cross-charging model with the NHS for this part of a transgender patient’s treatment, specifically an agreement regarding who can refer into the NHS for surgery.

Currently, referrals for transgender surgeries within the NHS come from the GIC in the UK. However, if Jersey is able to standalone for the (usual) first part of a person’s transition (hormone therapy), Jersey patients would not necessarily access the GIC any longer, so a new referral model would be required, such as the NHS accepting referrals from a central Jersey point that, in turn, accepts referrals from a Jersey GP or psychotherapist/psychologist.

ITV Channel recently covered this issue with Liberate’s input and you can see their reports here:

Progress: Liberate delivered a two day course in 2017 to a number of Jersey mental health professionals in partnership with the UK non-profit organisation Gendered Intelligence, which provides training by mental health professionals for medical professionals on gender identity issues.

Psychotherapists/psychologists received training in November 2018 from Dr Christina Richards, Lead Consultant Psychologist/Head of Psychology at the NHS London Gender Identity Clinic (Charing Cross) within the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

We are looking for a sponsor to be able to provide gender identity training to Jersey GPs.

We have delivered evidence to the Health and Social Services Scrutiny Panel looking into mental health services in Jersey as to how waiting times might be reduced for transgender islanders. (Video of the panel hearing can be seen here.)

We have met and continue to work with professionals from the Health and Social Services Department who are looking into how Jersey can improve its pathway to care for transgender islanders.

We have met with the Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf to discuss the reforms needed and received his support for making the process better for trans islanders.

Tribunal ruling: Condor v Bisson

Channel-CondorExpress-extThe Jersey Employment and Discrimination Tribunal have made recommendations to ferry company, Condor, as a result of their discriminatory behaviour towards Ms Bisson. The full judgement can be read here.

It is no surprise that the first transgender discrimination case in Jersey is about the use of gender-segregated facilities. This is an area that always causes problems for the trans community because being trans is not well-understood by the majority of people: they confuse gender with sexuality and allow irrational, often transphobic, fears to cloud their reasoning.

Much has been made in the media about changing signage, but this is, actually, not the most important point to be taken from the judgement.The most important point is that Condor got it wrong from the outset by offering a trans person the disabled facilities and by not acknowledging Ms Bisson’s gender correctly. So, before everyone rushes out to buy new signs for the toilet doors, let’s look at what businesses need to learn from this ruling.

As a result of the judgement, businesses should be aware of the following points:

  • Businesses need to ensure that their policies for dealing with transgender customers and employees are up to date and comply with discrimination law. They need to communicate these policies to their employees and provide their staff with training on discrimination legislation that may need to include a discussion of trans issues where understanding is lacking.
  • Transgender people should be treated as their recognised gender for all purposes. This includes using the correct form of address, titles and pronouns. If you are not sure of a person’s gender, use a gender-neutral pronoun like they/their/them until you can ascertain their gender or find a moment to ask discreetly what title they prefer to use.
  • It is never appropriate to offer a transgender person the disabled facilities to use. A transgender person is not disabled and, therefore, would not want to inconvenience users who are disabled and need the extra assistance offered by these facilities.
  • Businesses should permit transgender people to use the facility that is inline with their recognised gender. Under the law, a trans woman’s comparator is a woman and a trans man’s comparator is a man. In seeking a decision as to whether a trans person has been discriminated against, a court or tribunal will ask: was the trans man/woman treated the same as a man/woman?

So, bearing this last point in mind, do we need to replace the signs “ladies and gents” on toilet doors with stick figures? No. You are not going to be taken to the tribunal for discrimination if your toilet signs still use words. However, you could be taken to tribunal if you or your employees do not treat a trans woman the same as you treat a woman. Most transgender people do not want special treatment, they want equal treatment that affords them the same rights and privileges as non-trans people of the same gender as their recognised gender.

When someone is in the early stages of transitioning using a public toilet is one of the areas that worries them most. Trans women find this more difficult than trans men because of the prejudice that exists in society. Education is the key to breaking down this prejudice. Understanding what it means to be transgender and, crucially, what it doesn’t mean will help the trans community to lead safer and fulfilled lives but also help businesses stay out of the tribunal. This is why, ever since the discrimination law was introduced on 1 September 2015, Trans* Jersey have been offering a free one hour training session to all and any businesses about trans awareness.

Trans* Jersey hopes that Condor is the last business that finds themselves in the tribunal for a case involving the use of toilets or changing rooms by transgender people. If your organisation is not sure how to deal with a trans issue, please contact us or Liberate and we will be happy to advise you.

TotalJobs survey shows things are getting better

The infographic from TotalJobs’ recent survey of trans employees shows that things are getting better in the workplace but there is still work to be done. Recent high profile positive media events, such as the success of TV shows like “Transparent” and “Boy Meets Girl”, seem to have had a knock-on effect in the workplace in terms of raising awareness about trans issues. You can read more about the survey results here.
What’s it like to be a trans employee?

Same-sex marriage will happen in 2017

stateschamberThe States of Jersey have voted overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage. The Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, asked States members to decide whether they were for or against four principles.

(a) to agree, in principle, that appropriate legislation should be brought forward for approval to allow same-sex couples to get married in Jersey, with the legislation to:
(i) include civil marriage and religious marriage with appropriate safeguards in place to protect the rights of religious organisations and their officials who do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages;
(ii) include allowing people in civil partnerships to convert their partnership into marriage;
(iii) include retention of terms such as ‘husband and wife’, ‘mother and father’ in legislation;
(iv) not include a spousal veto in respect of gender recognition;

This principle was passed 37:4 with 1 abstention and 7 absentees. The full result can be found here.

(b) to agree, in principle, that current legislation should be amended to confer parental responsibility automatically on unmarried fathers who are named on birth certificates;

This principle was passed 43:1 with 5 absentees. The full result can be found here.

(c) to agree, in principle, that new legislation should be brought forward for approval to allow for the introduction of a system of divorce and dissolution making it a legal requirement to access and use mediation services subject to appropriate safeguards and human rights considerations;

This principle was passed 41:3 with 5 absentees. The full result can be found here.

(d) to request that the Chief Minister bring forward for approval by the States Assembly, no later than end January 2017, the draft legislation necessary to give effect to these proposals.

This principle was passed by 42 members with 2 abstentions and 5 absentees. The full result can be found here.

The full proposition can be downloaded here.

gay-marriage-wedding-vows-100815-02Clearly, principle (a) (iv) is the most important for Jersey’s trans community as it ensures that none of us will be asked to choose between having our gender recognised legally via a gender recognition certificate (“GRC”) and our marriage. It is the case, in England and Wales, that those who transition within a marriage (or civil partnership) and wish to acquire their GRC must divorce (or dissolve the partnership) and remarry as a same-sex couple (or opposite-sex couple). To do this, they must get their partner’s permission. If the spouse does not give permission, they effectively “veto” the trans person’s ability to get a GRC and have their gender legally recognised. It is an impossible choice to ask someone to make – their gender or their marriage?

Jersey will be following the Scottish legal model where the marriage seamlessly changes from opposite-sex to same-sex (or vice versa) on the issuing of the GRC. However, this causes a problem as we have outsourced the issuing of GRC’s to other recognised jurisdictions around the world. Our Gender Recognition (Jersey) Law 2010, therefore, relies on our ability to obtain a GRC from a recognised jurisdiction – the most logical being England and Wales. But, because England and Wales require a trans person to divorce before a GRC is issued, then Jersey people applying for their GRC will be subject to the spousal veto “by the back door”.

As the above loophole shows, there is much work still to be done. This is why the expected delivery date for the legislation is 2017. This gives us time to work with the Chief Minister to ensure that a satisfactory outcome is achieved on the subject of gender recognition. Watch this space for updates…

Mx title now available

socsecTrans* Jersey has been contacted by the Social Security Department to let us know that Mx has now been included as a gender neutral title option in their computer systems. This is good news for all those who identify as in between the simple binary of man or woman.
The department have issued the following statement about the change: “Transgender people in Jersey will be protected against discrimination from September this year and so this is an appropriate change for the Department to make to ensure that our customers are addressed by us as they wish to be addressed.

We do not know yet whether any other States Departments intend to make a similar change.

We have not changed the title options on any of our forms as this would require a much bigger piece of work, but it may happen in the future.

They have also issued the following guidance to their employees:

What is Mx?
Mx is the most commonly used title that does not indicate gender (i.e. instead of Mr, Mrs, Miss etc) and it may be used by people who do not identify as either a man or woman. It may be  pronounced as ‘mux’, ‘mix’ or ‘mixter’. Mx has been adopted by many major national institutions in the UK and is a permitted title option for the DWP, DVLA, HMRC, NHS, Identity and Passport Service, Post Office, some local city councils and banks, universities and utilities companies.

What this means for the customer
A customer may request that their title is recorded in our systems as Mx.  If a customer requests this, you simply make the change. We do not need any details or explanation of why this is the customer’s preference. You should never make assumptions or offer this option to a customer if they have not requested it.

When a customer makes this request, it would be appropriate for you to explain the extent to which Mx will be used in our correspondence with them in the future, i.e. letters and cheques.

Press release: 14 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.”

gay-marriage-1105-1280x960Liberate 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: