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…

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:

Press release: 2 June 2015

Trans* Jersey welcomes Jersey’s sex discrimination regulations that go further than the UK in their protections for people of non-binary genders.

rainbow-respect-375x250The 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:

Media links: Results of survey of election candidates

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

vote2Headline 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 where a full list of candidates can be found. Election day is 15 October so don’t forget to vote!

Media links: Questionning the 2014 election candidates

Channel Island equality charity Liberate and affiliate group Trans*Jersey are asking those standing for election to the States of Jersey for their view on LGBTQ issues.

Liberate and Trans* Jersey have emailed all the 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.

The results of the questionnaire will be publicly available on the Liberate and Trans* Jersey websites ( and Candidates are asked to complete the questionnaire by 8 October 2014.

Jersey Co-ordinator for Liberate Vic Tanner Davy said:

“2015 is going to be a big year for Jersey’s LGBTQ population with the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation in September and debates on how to introduce marriage for same-sex couples. However, there are other issues that affect the LGBTQ population that have yet to be discussed in the States but are no less important to the approximately 10% of islanders who identify as LGBTQ. It is right that Liberate and Trans* Jersey, organisations that represents the LGBTQ community, ask candidates for their views on these issues, issues that are likely to be put before the States for debate in the next term, the term in which the candidates will serve, if elected.”


Candidates are being asked the following 10 questions:

  1. Which of the options for same-sex marriage being proposed by the Chief Minister’s consultation document of 20 August 2014 (Equal Marriage and Partnership) would have your support?
  2. Would you support the opening up of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples?
  3. Which of the options for equalising adultery as a cause for dissolving a marriage being proposed by the Chief Minister’s consultation document of 20 August 2014 (Equal Marriage and Partnership) would have your support?
  4. Apart from religious organisations that are exempt, are there any other businesses or service providers that would have your support to have the right, in certain circumstances, to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation?
  5. Apart from religious organisations that are exempt, are there any other businesses or service providers that would have your support to have the right, in certain circumstances, to discriminate on the grounds of gender reassignment?
  6. Would you support the introduction of the use of the internationally recognised X marker by the passport office and registry office to denote someone whose gender is self-determined as neither M nor F? (For example, in the case of a child born with an intersex condition or “DSD” whose parents did not wish to register their child’s gender as M or F until later in life.)
  7. Would you support the removal of the restrictions on adoption by same-sex couples? At present, same-sex couples cannot apply to adopt jointly. However, one partner may submit an application supported by the other. In other words, single parents may adopt but same-sex couples in a civil partnership may not.
  8. Would you support compulsory, age-appropriate, LGBTQ-inclusive Sex and Relationship Education in all schools?
  9. Would you support the removal of the restrictions on blood donation by homosexual men? At present, homosexual men may not donate blood if they have had sexual contact in the last 12 months. There is no exception for homosexual men in committed monogamous partnerships.
  10. Would you support revising the Gender Recognition (Jersey) Law 2010 to remove the requirement for a gender recognition certificate from an approved jurisdiction to be presented and replace the process with a system by which a transgender individual self-reports their transition to the Royal Court (in much the same way that a change of name by deed poll is self-reported and passed through the Royal Court)?

For candidates standing for election, the questions can be accessed here: Link to candidate survey

To find out more about the candidates who are standing in your parish or district, go to where a full list of candidates can be found. Election day is 15 October so don’t forget to vote!

Press release: 8 July 2014

Trans* Jersey is very disappointed by the decision of the States of Jersey to vote in favour of Senator Ian Le Marquand’s amendment to require the Chief Minister consult on any change in the law to allow same-sex marriage in Jersey.

gay-marriage-ukTrans* Jersey’s founder, Vic Tanner Davy, said: “We recognise that, as an issue, this is not a high priority for the majority of States members personally. As a result, it was clear that a number of States members had not done their homework and felt ill-prepared to vote on the matter. This was demonstrated most clearly by those concerned about the ‘unintended consequences’ of allowing equal marriage. Anyone who has studied the issue in detail will know that there are no ‘unintended consequences’ to equal marriage. We know that, once States members have had a chance to do their research over the summer, any concerns they may have will be put to bed and equal marriage will go forward.

“Today was a wake-up call to States members that they need to do their homework and come back to the chamber in full possession of the facts about why the island’s LGBT community needs this legislation. This is not a proposition that is going to go away and it is one on which members need to be clear where they stand as it will be an election issue in the autumn.”

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.

Summary of UK trans* issues

The following is taken from a paper produced in May 2014 by the UK charity, GIRES. It is a useful summary of the issues facing trans* citizens and the groups working with them for equality.


The numbers of transgender people presenting for medical treatment is increasing by 20% pa. This figure rises to 50% for young people. EHRC estimates that 1% of the population fall under the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.

Transgender people are the victims of unequal treatment under the law. This sets a dreadful example and fuels the discriminatory and sometimes violent and abusive treatment experienced by many trans people.

The current government has chosen to ignore a growing cohort of younger people who do not identify with the gender binary. Many such people have no protection under the 2010 Equality Act and have no mechanism to get appropriate ID. In effect they are being excluded from Society.

Surely in 2015 equality and enjoyment of full Human Rights shouldbe an entitlement of all?

A course of action is requested to achieve the following end state:

(a) having no legislation permitting discrimination on the grounds of gender identity or non gender binary identification;

(b) truly equal marriage;

(c) abolition of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act and new processes for gaining appropriate ID;

(d) education for younger people to eliminate prejudice in the longer term; and

(e) new medical treatment models to cope with the rapidly increasing numbers presenting for treatment.

Government must come to realise that people cannot be categorised into neat boxes and its obsession in trying to do so is making life very difficult for many!

A summary of requested actions is given below. [More detail on each section can be found in separate posts]:

1. Legislative revisions [More detail on this can be found here]

Equality Act 2010: Remove any rights to legally discriminate against transgender people. Grant protections to those who do not fit into the gender binary.

Gender Recognition Act 2004: Trans people find the process of having their assertions of gender incongruence checked for truth by the Gender Recognition Panel a degrading and patronising (and also expensive and protracted) process. The Act was introduced to address the lack of same sex marriage in the UK and is no longer relevant, and indeed divisive. Given that gender related discrimination is no longer permitted in the UK, a legal change of gender on birth certificates should be a self driven administrative process.

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013: The Spousal Veto must be removed if this remains in the Act when the trans marriage regulations are passed later in 2014. The marriages of couples who were forced to annul and subsequently formed civil partnerships should be reinstated. Government assertions “that the past cannot be rewritten” are hollow given that birth certificates, and soon marriage certificates, can now be altered.

Matrimonial Causes Act 1973: Section 12(h) (non disclosure of gender history) must be withdrawn. Under this provision trans people are singled out for treatment not applied to any other group. Furthermore, as one does not have to disclose (for example) that one is a convicted murderer or married to another) before having sex, why can one be imprisoned for not doing so if one has a trans history?

Application of EU law to pension claimants: Despite very clear and well established superior European Court of Justice case law, the Department of Work and Pensions, supported by some but not all Courts, continues to act unlawfully towards some transgender pension claimants.

2. Non gender binary issues [More detail on this can be found here]

Marriage laws: Gendered language in ceremonies should be optional.

Passports: The introduction of the X marker on passports is long overdue. The conclusion of a recent Passport Office report on this topic was that there is no demand for X markers contradicted the evidence it received.

Birth Certificates: As part of the new provisions following the Gender Recognition Act a mechanism should be introduced to allow the sex classification to be removed or changed or an “X” category added.GIRES encourages direct communication with the appropriate communities.

3. Education [More detail on this can be found here]

It is the experience of GIRES that many in government do not understand the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. This is vividly demonstrated by married trans people and their spouses “being shoehorned into arrangements for gay and lesbian people” (evidence: Commons Committee Stage, Same Sex Marriage Bill). However, the route to combating transphobia longer term is to introduce awareness training on diversity, early in the education process, in schools.

4. Medical treatment of trans people [More detail on this can be found here]

Despite some recent progress in improved treatment protocols, the growing numbers presenting for medical help are now overwhelming the specialist clinics. Although gender dysphoria is no longer accepted as a psychiatric condition, treatment generally remains under the control of specialist clinics led by psychiatrists. Inappropriate treatment and increasing delays are harming transgender people. New treatment models must be implemented to ensure timely and flexible treatment packages that make best use of the funds available.

Gay Pride 13.jpg

Trans* Jersey’s response to the proposals in GIRES’ report

Because so much of Jersey’s transgender and transsexual population’s experience is as a result of having treatment in the UK or acquiring their gender recognition certificate from the UK, these issues affect us, too. Trans* Jersey, therefore, wholly supports the aims and proposals of GIRES and the other trans* organisations working to reform the law in the UK.

To find out more about how Jersey trans* individuals are affected by each of the four proposals listed above, click on the links to more detail where we outline the proposed change in greater depth and explain how we would like to see the States of Jersey tackle these issues.