A TRANSGENDER Swindonian has praised government proposals to make it easier for people to be recognised as their chosen gender.

Jeremy ‘Jez’ Farmer, 51, who transitioned from female to male 11 years ago, says amendments to the Gender Recognition Act announced by Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening in July will help dispel what he sees as myths about gender identity.

As it stands, individuals must be diagnosed with ‘gender dysphoria’ and prove they have been in transition for at least two years before they can apply to legally change their gender.

If the proposals were made law, the medical diagnosis would no longer be needed to apply for gender recognition.

The proposed changes aim ‘to streamline and de-medicalise the process for changing gender’, ‘relieve the bureaucratic and medical burdens’ on applicants and reduce ‘the length and intrusiveness of the gender recognition system’, according to the government’s announcement.

Jez said he had to overcome numerous obstacles during his transition and it took him nine months to get his name changed on his birth certificate.

“It is a positive and negative – for me it is too late,” he said of the proposals.

“But it could be a lot easier. I had to go through two years of c**p to get legal recognition.”

The Rodbourne resident said changing his body was important to him, but emphasised that not everyone wants to go through a physical transition.

“So many people do not want to go through medical processes – why push them into it?

“But I’m not one of them – I needed the physical change.”

Jez thinks amendments to the Gender Recognition Act would be a ‘bonus’ and make people realise the difference between how people identify and their physicality.

“It is about personal identity. Body parts mean nothing,” he said.

“Gender is a state of mind. I have just changed my perception.”

Debate over gender identity was ignited in October when research published by the Office for National Statistics found that the existing census question requiring citizens to indicate if they are male or female could intrude on transgender rights.

However, it is argued that changing the question to ask about gender identity rather than sex would leave the government with inaccurate data on the number of men and women officially living in the country.

For more information about the government proposals and census consultation visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-action-to-promote-lgbt-equality and https://www.ons.gov.uk/census/censustransformationprogramme/consultations/the2021censusinitialviewoncontentforenglandandwales