Dear Baroness Ashton-07-07-2006
Dear Baroness Ashton, 07/07/2006
Cc Lynne Jones MP
I have received a copy of your letter to Lynne Jones MP dated the 08/05/2006 via one of my friends in Australasia.
I see from the last paragraph that you are “Aware of the issues raised by Ms Clarke and Ms Gurney continue to cause concern for some applicants in Australia” We do hope that you are also aware that these same issues apply to New Zealand as well. I have been trying unsuccessfully for over a year to have these problems corrected.
It is comforting to note that “I would however like to reassure you that officials in conjunction with stakeholders are committed to finding a workable solution as soon as is practicable” Who are these officials and stakeholders? If I read it correctly, then I and my friends out here are stakeholders, and would very much wish to be consulted on these outstanding issues. At present, we are only seen as a burr under the saddle, and given no credence what so ever.
I work on behalf of many in both Countries in order to achieve a long lasting solution to these problems. As fast as we try a way around this, it is rejected via GRP and Legally.
I would point out that the main stumbling block is the GMC registered doctor requirement, as those that have been found in both countries are not allowed to do reports unless they are on the approved list of specialists. For them to become so, they are required to submit a CV as to their standing as a specialist in the field of Gender Dysphoria. We all know that there are no such courses in the curriculum’s of any university that teaches Psychiatry, or Psychology, but they do have courses for Gay, Lesbian and Bi-sexual, but nothing for transsexualism!
You talk about a “Simplified procedure” You state that it allows a person whose change of gender has been recognised overseas to apply for a UK GRC via the simplified procedure. It does no such thing, as although all of us have had SRS in order to be recognised in Australasia, you the government of UK do not recognise those facts. If this Act 2004 is a simplified procedure then we would hate to see something that is not simplified! Why are there three tracks? All of which have led to confusion for everyone. Our legislation in both countries would be considered as a mere memo in how short and to the point they are, when considered against the UK Act 2004. I will again re-iterate that in both countries in order to obtain a new BC for those born there, or a GRC, where given in South Australia and Victoria, you have to have undergone SRS. Our laws are based on Surgery, where as in UK they are based on Non Surgery! Therefore you are dealing with people who have to comply with those laws, if they were born in Australasia or abroad. You state ,”The precise form of evidence will vary depending on which country or territory is involved, and it is for the Panel to satisfy itself of the evidence provided” How can they do this, if they have no idea and understanding of the laws governing TS people in these countries and territories? Does the DCA/GRP understand this? I would also ask why the GRP is a judicial panel and not a medical panel? I know they have received some rudimentary training in GD, but why should people based in the judiciary be in the position to verify what is after all an area of concern for the medical fraternity, GPs and Specialists?
We have supplied GRP with all the web sites concerning the legislation for all the States, Territories and Country in Australasia. This being due to the fact that they were not understood by those in UK, who should have carried out these researches with care and due diligence before sending out and saying that all States and Territories in Australia and in New Zealand were on the approved list. They should not have been, as only South Australia (1988) and Victoria (2005) should have been on that list as being able to offer a GRC to people living there, but born abroad. Again you state “This provision is there to ensure the credibility and legitimacy of the gender recognition process” I think that the UK is not in the least interested in the laws of other Countries that have been enacted for many years, but expect everyone else to now accept and adhere to their laws!
We know that some have received their GRC/BC in Australia, but they are few and far between. Most would be from South Australia, or Victoria, with some that have managed to find GMC doctors acceptable to GRP. There have also been some who received their GRC/BC before the GMC ruling came into affect in May/June 2005
You state “That the term Registered medical practitioner derives from the Medical Act 1983 and is to be interpreted as medical practitioners registered with the GMC. The term is a recognised legal term and it would have been an anomaly if the GRA had interpreted it differently” You do not however mention as in the rejection letters dated after May/June 2005 The GRA 2004 does not define this term. It is defined in the Interpretation Act 1978 by reference to section 55 of the Medical Act 1983. A ‘registered medical practitioner’ has to be registered by the General Medical Council. This can include doctors trained or practising abroad but registered in UK
I believe that the very fact it was not defined in the Act 2004 was a vast oversight, as you, the legislators, are assuming that all understand what this means. It should have been defined at the time the Act 2004 was being placed into legislation, not assumed as known, and certainly not added as a seeming after thought in the case of rejections from May/June 2005 when it was determined that only GMC doctors could comply with the law in regard to writing reports.
Those of us living in Australasia are not prepared to send applications until these matters are corrected, and we have a legal understanding as to how we can and cannot apply. Until then, you will no doubt receive applications from South Australia and Victoria containing their GRC, but not from the rest of the states and territories in Australia, or from New Zealand. By doing this, the legislation is precluding about 95% of those eligible to apply, but will not do so because of the fear of rejection and cost. Don’t forget that you have to wait 6 months after a rejection before being able to re-apply, and are again charged a fee, if applicable. These rejections all stem from the points raised earlier..
We have been told that we can use GMC doctors (Specialists) based in UK and on the approved list. This is confirmed in your second letter, dated 29/06/06 where you state “GRP has decided that it may accept (on a case by case basis) medical reports by an Australian doctor which have subsequently been certified by a GMC practitioner in the UK . Once a doctor in Australia certifies that a patient has or has had gender dysphoria, the patient or doctor may submit the reports to a GMC registered doctor in the UK. If the GMC registered doctor affirms or certifies the report, the Panel will take this into account when assessing whether they have provided the required evidence” I hope that you agree that this goes further to alleviate the difficulties encountered by foreign applicants.
GRP say they do not make or adjust the law, they are only there to implement it. So how are they able to decide to allow the above, surely that has to be decided legally, if what they say is to be taken seriously!
I have contacted Dr James Barrett at the Claybrook Centre and he has spoken with GRP and is willing to do a report that meets GRP criteria for myself and others. He has done mine and sent his report to GRP who will sit on it now until I can re-apply in October 2006. I am given to understand by GRP, that I have to supply all previous detail, plus Dr Barrett’s report when I re-apply, plus fee, of course! However, one of my friends has been told by Dr Richard Curtis that he cannot do these reports because of ‘Medical Legalities’ So where does that leave us?
This has been the problem all along. You are told one thing, only to find that another applies. I have sent a copy of suggested guidance if the above is allowed to Lola Bello (DCA) and GRP, but to date have had no reply.
Currently we are lobbying the Queensland Government to amend the 2003 Act to include a GRC. Also we are testing the system, both State and Federal to see if we can be granted a Court Order, as we are fully recognised by both jurisdictions.
GRP will shortly be receiving an application under the Overseas Track from NZ, that will contain a court order from the NZ High Court and we hope that this will not be rejected. If so, on what grounds, as no medical report is required. This is after a rejection, so if it was to be rejected one could only assume that the previous application has again been taken into account.
My personal opinion of the GRA 2004 is one of bordering on the banal, it leaves me cold. It has had a major impact on my health and I am now suffering extreme stress due to all the rubbish issuing from the GRP. They never answer anything that is asked in order to be able to know if what you are about to submit, will meet their criteria.
I cannot understand why I cannot receive a new BC, as I am fully recognised as a WOMAN in Australia in every respect. I have had SRS, which I had to pay for, no NHS here, I have a Vagina that is fully functional and can under Australian law marry a Man if I so choose.
So why am I and others like me being subjected to this ordeal when we apply for a GRC/BC, only to be rejected on the grounds of not meeting the GMC criteria. This to me is farcical, when others who still have Male genitalia are issued with a GRC/BC
Kathy Anne Noble
President, Agender Australia.
PO Box 897 Cleveland QLD 4163
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