SEVERAL countries' Gender Recognition Certificates (GRC) will no longer be recognised by the UK Government, Kemi Badenoch told MPs.

The Business Secretary, also Women and Equalities minister, announced in the House of Commons that countries that have adopted self-identification or "less rigourous" policies for transgender people will be removed from a list of approved countries.

If someone has had their gender previously recognised in one of the countries or territories on the approved list, they do not need to provide medical reports when applying for gender recognition in the UK.

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Badenoch told MPs on Wednesday: “Today we are laying an order to update the list of approved overseas countries and territories for parliamentary approval.”

She added: “This is long overdue. The list of approved overseas countries and territories was last updated in 2011.”

“We are doing this because there are some countries and territories on the list who have made changes to their systems and would not now be considered to have similarly rigorous systems as the UK,” Badenoch (below) added.

The National: Kemi Badenoch

“Inadvertently allowing self-ID for obtaining GRCs is not Government policy. It should not be possible for a person who does not satisfy the criteria for UK legal gender recognition to use the overseas routes to do so.”

Self-identification allows a transgender person to self-determine their gender, without the need for medical certificates or a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

The Scottish Government’s gender reforms allowed transgender people in Scotland to self-identify, but were blocked from becoming law by the UK Government despite being passed by a cross-party majority in Holyrood.

Badenoch also said the UK Government is set to review how the words sex and gender were used in law, telling MPs: “I am exploring how we can rectify these issues across the board and provide legal certainty.

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"This will reduce the tensions that have emerged as a result of the confusion around the terms sex and gender.”

Following her statement, Badenoch was asked by SNP MSP Kirsten Oswald if she had conducted an impact assessment on how it would impact the health and well-being of those affected, and asked what evidence she had seen ahead of this change to decide to remove several countries from the list.

“Does she recognise that that UK is travelling rapidly backwards on the rights of LGBT people?” Oswald (below) said.

“And that this decision is very much out of step with other progressive countries around the world?”

The National: Kirsten Oswald MP

“As she said herself, nobody’s identity should be used as a political football,” Oswald added.

“We need to stop that, she needs to reflect and she needs to change tact.”

Badenoch said she “completely disagrees” with Oswald, adding: “She talks about us using this issue as culture wars football, but the Labour opposition say this is the first time they’ve heard us say anything about this in the House, surely both cannot be true.

“I think it is extraordinary that she is telling us that she is not compassionate. It is her Government in Scotland that was allowing rapists to be housed in women’s prisons while using self-ID as a cover, so I will not accept that.

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“We are the ones who are thinking about women’s rights, we are the ones who are thinking about safeguarding, we are the ones who are thinking about vulnerability.”

Badenoch was referring to the case of transgender prisoner Isla Bryson.

Earlier, shadow equalities minister Anneliese Dodds asked if Badenoch had consulted Foreign Secretary David Cameron on the “diplomatic impact” of the changes.

Dodds (below) asked: “If so, does he agree with them? I note for example that China is now on the approved list, but not our four closest Five Eyes allies.”

The National:

Badenoch did not name the countries that were to be removed from list, but the Five Eyes allies include Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some US states.

It is understood that Germany remains on the list, despite having self-ID policies brought in, while China has been added. 

Badenoch claimed some countries were on the list because of the mistreatment trans people had there.

She told MPs: “I will use the example of Kazakhstan, where to obtain gender recognition applicants must undergo gender reassignment surgery. This includes forced sterilisation, something which we condemn completely. It is banned in our country and is a form of conversion practice.

“Recognising certification for someone who has undergone that is a compassionate acknowledgement of what some transgender people in other countries have had to go through to obtain their certification.”