Should people be allowed to pick their gender?

People in the UK are to be able to pick their own gender identity and change the corresponding entry in their birth certificates to "male", "female" or "X" at will in future. Under current laws British transgender people must have spent two years living as a member of the opposite gender and present a doctor's diagnosis in order to transition. Not all media are convinced that the government's proposed reform is progressive.

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The Times (GB) /

Door wide open for abuse

The initiative of the British minister for women and equalities is off target, The Times believes:

“What the government proposes is a radical rewriting of our understanding of identity: now it's a question of an internal essence - a soul, if you will. Being a woman or a man is now entirely in your head. In this climate, who would challenge someone with a beard exposing their penis in a women's changing room? That's why feminists have raised the alarm over the move to self-identification, along with some older trans people who fear that 'trendsters' will erode the goodwill they have worked hard to acquire.”

The Evening Standard (GB) /

A big step forward

The Evening Standard, by contrast, welcomes the proposal on simplifying gender identification:

“It de-medicalises the process. It says that trans identity is not a mental pathology. ... It is easy to come up with reductio ad absurdums. What if several dozen hairy-arsed Hells Angels in jail for violent crimes decided, en masse, to identify as Doris or Petunia and demanded to be transferred to HMP Holloway? ... These extreme positions tend not to tell us much about the way in which the proposed new laws will affect the lives of the vast majority of trans people - who aren't identifying differently on a whim. Arguments about single-sex toilets are, fundamentally, a distraction from the seriousness of the topic.”