Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Equal Marriage Act and transgender rights. The prejudice below.

Angry doesn't do it justice. 

Initially, like many others, I was delighted that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act passed through the House of Lords in its Second Reading. 


I was delighted for gay and lesbian friends who are finally being given the right to celebrate their love on a basis equal to others - despite the poisonous and bigoted attitudes poured out all over them by representatives of Establishment, of Church and by sundry other bigots en route.

In one respect - as a side effect of the bill - there's been a general view that the transgender community (more specifically transsexual people) has benefited in its quest to be treated as equal human beings too. Previously, an individual who needed to transition and who was in a marriage that had - against the odds - held together, would be denied the chance to be legally recognised in his or her new (ie genuine) gender unless he or she got divorced. 


Transition is hard enough already on families, but this requirement (which existed because two people of the same gender could not be married - the outcome if legal transition of one took place) was for some a bitter pill indeed. Couples who could see further than the sterile pink/blue world many inhabit and who married each other for something deeper were being broken apart, with children amongst the innocent victims. And yet without divorce, the transitioning partner would simply have to carry on, unable to get their papers changed, unable to be recognised by the State, for who they really are. 

The Equal Marriage Bill will end that requirement, as couples of the same gender can now be married.


And that's good news.


But it wasn't long before some other provisions of the proposed bill -  now travelling fast towards Royal Assent - began to come to light. Provisions that are built in to ensure that whilst trans people benefit from (essentially) a side effect of the legislation, they should continue to understand that they are not actually equal under British law, and that their basic human right to claim and own their own identity does not take precedence over the 'needs' of the rest of the community to be 'protected' from them. 


Because under the surface of this legislation still lurks the odour of stigma and prejudice. 


This first whiff of this crops up in one particular clause. It indicates that if a married person wishes to legally transition and stay married, then that person needs to get the written permission of their spouse first.

If you are a cisgender reader of this blog, that might, perhaps, seem reasonable? No-one should be 'jumped' into a partner suddenly wanting to do something like this without your consent, of course (though with transsexual people being forced to 'live in role' for two years before even being allowed to 'ask' for surgery - it's not exactly likely). 


But let's take a look more deeply at some of the legal implications - and at the moral foundation below them...

Firstly, of course, the situation is unlikely to arise often - granted. If one partner in a marriage has a major difficulty with the other dealing with their gender needs in this way, it's pretty unlikely that they are going to be keen to stay married anyway. And if they are supportive of their partner's actions, then the 'permission' they are asked to give should be a formality?

Perhaps. But this is not the issue.

The legislation is making a legal point. The needs of one spouse shall - in law - take precedence over those of the other. Irrespective of other considerations. And specifically, the desire of one spouse to preserve the status quo of a marriage is deemed to be more important - in law - than the profound and central human right of the other to be who they are. To claim their own identity and to live it. 


The idea of needing another's 'consent' to be who you are is sickening - and it remains sickening even if cases in which it arises are rare. There are principles in play here - and the Bill's assumptions about whose rights should prevail should the issue ever make an appearance are clear. It's reminiscent of the era in which a woman needed to get the 'permission' of a husband to gain a divorce - whatever the circumstances of the marriage, the 'right' of one partner to remain married took precedence over the right of the other even to not be beaten to a pulp. Sometimes.

But there's worse to come.

It has now come to light that the Act sustains and refreshes a deeply problematic and legally obscure part of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. The government, led by Minster Helen Grant, is aware of this. Could have supported a change, easily, in this major review of marital law. Has refused.  


Fresh on the heels of a case in which an individual was found guilty in a British court of 'obtaining sex by deception' because he (a trans man who was still biologically female) did not disclose his past to a partner, the Bill does nothing to change the legal requirement for a person with a transsexual past, who has a Gender Recognition Certificate (and potentially even an amended Birth Certificate - both documents that are supposed to be entirely private and held in very secure settings in civil service files) to disclose their gender history to a potential spouse. 

Failure to do this can constitute grounds for annulment. 

The failure to address this little piece of poison, which made its first appearance in the 2004 Act, reconfirms the law in a way which runs against the entire spirit of the equalities legislation some have been working so hard to bring forward. At the risk of being accused of Godwinism, I can't help thinking of the Nazi's 'Racial Purity' laws - laws by which your family history had to be disclosed before you could marry to ensure that no 'Jewish blood' inconveniently popped up somewhere in your genealogy. It's the last time I can think of in Europe when a law said that who you are, now, is not enough. And that on the basis of something about which you had no control, something profoundly, and morally irrelevant, you could be denied legal rights with no further recourse. 


I am a woman with a transsexual past. I am fairly open about that - to those who are sensitively interested and whom I judge worthy of my hearing the information - in situations in which it is appropriate for me to discuss it. 


It's a choice I make. My choice. Perhaps there are things about your past you choose to share with others, or choose to withhold? 


Often I choose not to talk about my trans past - it is simply irrelevant. At work it plays no role at all. Sometimes I feel that it could stimulate a misunderstanding I do not want, or get in the way by taking the focus off other, more important, things. 


There are times in my life when I just get bored by having to explain it all over again. Sometimes I don't say anything because I don't want to be laughed at, or beaten up. 

Critically these are decisions I take, and the 2004 Act is supposed to protect me in these decisions. Or so most of it said. I am quoting directly from it - it tells me that I am "for all legal purposes" of the gender indicated on the documentation I waited all my life to get.

Frankly, I don't need a piece of paper from Whitehall, or from anyone, to tell me who I am, but my new Birth Certificate and the GRC which allowed me to get it has been an important tool in claiming my right to be treated with respect and dignity 
by British society - by its officialdom and bureaucracy.

But the 2004 Act left one issue ambiguous, and it has sat like an unpaid bill on the statute books for almost a decade. The matter of disclosure around marriage. 


The Equal Marriage Bill restates that I do not actually have the right to be treated in my legal gender under all circumstances.  It is going to say I am not for all legal purposes female, because it confirms another's right to make a judgement for themselves - and for their conclusion to be automatically supported in law if they disagree with mine. 

It is going to confirm that the authenticity of my gender is once again NOT for me to decide, but, in this case, for a prospective spouse to have the final word. 

Once again, let me be completely clear. This is not about how often this might, or might not, happen. Though actually, a person wanting to leave behind decades of prejudice, abuse, or violence and not share hard memories with someone they love is not a situation so difficult to imagine. Especially in the world in which we live. 


Speaking for myself, single, interested in forming a relationship with a man, I think it very likely that I would share my past with a prospective partner - a relationship of trust, for me, needs to be founded on such things.

But I thought that this was something for me to decide. I thought, in a civilised, progressive society, with an Act passed nine years ago which purported to give me legal equality as a human being, that I owned my past. If you are cisgender and are reading this you have this right. 
I was wrong. 

And when that bill passes, it will specifically and directly reinforce an unpleasant irony - uniquely for people like me. Because I actually have a GRC. I have been through the 'system', like the 2004 legislation said I should. Had I not done so, I would not have to share my life story in this way, it seems. 


So much for the Gender Recognition Act.

Thus I am part of an absolutely unique club. A club you cannot join even if you are a convicted paedophile. Or a murderer. Or if you beat up your last partner. The club of those people who are required by law to share something about their previous life to a prospective marriage partner. And I haven't even committed a crime.

Good law has its basis in a good, moral foundation. And it doesn't take long to track the principles which underpin this thinking in the Bill, and in the governments unwillingness to review it, back to a very familiar prejudice - now having light shone on it as the legislation passes though Parliament. 


That prejudice continues to say that we, as transgender people, might just be making all this up. 
That we are not actually who and what we say we are. 

Or at least, that our word is not enough. The final judge must be another person, on whose mercy we must publicly, humiliatingly throw ourselves. The implication is clear. Another must be allowed the chance to say "Ewwww, I don't want to marry you if you're once of those". And protestations that we are simply who we say we are, that we are being honest, are not enough. And nor, it seems, is that new Birth Certificate I have been given, anymore. 

Thus, when I say to the world the simple phrase, "I am a woman", as other women are permitted to, I am reminded now more than ever that there are still relatively few in positions of power in our society who are prepared to accept that, unequivocally, and on the basis simply of my saying it. Society endlessly puts in front of me hurdles to jump, 'proofs' to provide. I thought that the Gender Recognition Act and my completion of all the tasks it set me would be enough. I was wrong, as I now see - again. Women who were born - lucky them - with a physiology which reflected their own internal notion of themselves - do not have this problem. Do not endlessly have the burden of proof of who they are placed on them. Do not have to clear one set of obstacles in front of them only to be given more . Are not called liars.

Beyond all this, the potential marital partner must, it now seems, give formal 'consent' to marriage - having heard this (presumably appalling) 'news'. How this is to be done remains unclear - a Statutory Declaration has been suggested (with visions of Solicitors offices and swearing oaths about 'not having a problem' with (what amounts to) their partner's dirty little secret). Whatever happens, there's much space for further humiliation, further invasion of privacy (something that the 2004 Act was supposed to eliminate), and for legal ambiguity. Look into the future not too far to see the case of an individual who seeks an annulment of a marriage because 'they weren't told'. It becomes a case of one litigant's word against the other, and a great opportunity for someone to get out of a marriage fast even if the real reasons lie elsewhere. It's also a great way of getting a trans person into the papers again, with their past shared everywhere. Or beaten up by angry relatives - and so on.


The Equal Marriage Act - with just a few weeks of lobbying time left - will right a long standing wrong against Lesbian and Gay people. Of course I still support it. But for my gay and lesbian friends now. And for my trans friend who has been caught by the requirement-to-divorce trap, despite, with her wife, keeping her family in one piece for years against the odds.

But I no longer support this bill for me. A few stoic MPs have begun to grasp the implications for transgender people of some of its provisions, and some of its pointed omissions. A few activists have tried to make the politicians hear us. But most MPs have little idea of the issues for us still. Some can barely spell transsexual. A few hate us, with some energy.


Unless something changes, soon - despite the valuable and important side effect of allowing continued marriage for some - it looks to me like the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act could be about to move my personal human rights, and those of many like me, nowhere. 


Worse, it will restate, in deliberate omission and in the unique and new introduction of the legal concept of control of transgender people by consent of another, a fear at the heart of British political classes which over the last nine years we had hoped was on the wane.

**************


Minor edits made June 23 and 24 to reflect accurate situation re legal disclosure around the 2004 Gender Recognition Act

21 comments:

  1. Spot on...with one minor factual point worth being aware of.

    The provision allowing for annulment if a trans person doesn't declare an existing grc was there already. That doesn't change the fundamental point made by this blog, that the current spate of legislation preserves and re-inforces inequality, itself actually entrenched in the very existence of grc's.

    And the government cannot under any circ claim to be unaware of these facts.

    Both the points that are made above were made to the relevant Minister both during the course of the debate and in various talks that took place outside the debate.

    The government is 100% aware of the points raised here and HAS CHOSEN to ignore trans concerns.

    Which actually makes this all the sicker.

    Jane

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    1. Jane I have revised the piece slightly to reflect your comment, which I have heard from another too. The principle ambiguity was in the 2004 Act around disclosure in marriage, it seems. But this has been reviewed, scrutinised, its deep incompatibility with equality pointed out - and the government has chosen not to remove it, but reinforce it.

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  2. Excellent and necessary post, but don't think it is all unalloyed goodness for the LGB cis folk either. Equal pensions rights, which effect us all, aren't in this bill (as yet, the Lords might perform some miracle but it is unlikely) and it is a Same-Sex Marriage bill rather than marriage equality creating a somewhat different marriage for same-sex partners as compared to opposite-sex partners.

    *sigh* This bill should have been so much better.

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  3. I was going to make the point that Jane has: the Gender Recognition Act was accompanied by an amendment to the Matrimonial Causes Act that made non-disclosure of transsexual history valid grounds for annulment. The Civil Partnerships Act also included it.

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    1. Yes, this issue has been lying in the background for some time now, though it is getting some exposure now. The fact that such provisions exist - and are re-cemented in the government's refusal to review them in this Bill - are indicative of an attitude to trans people that still runs deep. Society is still allowed, in many ways, to ignore the laws that were passed, (laws ostensibly to give our gender identity proper legal status). If someone doesn't happen to agree with your your gender identity, or objects to it, there are plenty of 'get outs' for them and the law will support them.

      Being forced to disclose their past puts trans people in a unique group.

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  4. good article, but your HIV/AIDS comparison with committing a crime / being a paedophile is a bit unnecessary.

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    1. Fair point and not my intention to equate the two in a pejorative way. In fact I removed that phrase before seeing your comment. Apologies if that was an unfortunate conflation.

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  5. Oh how terrible to be marginalized yet again. In the US, we don't have that divorce requirement, the marriage remains recognized if the couple was legally married even in a state where gay marriage is banned. Some couples do not stay together (as was in my case, despite my ex-wife's support), some will remain married and have a unique future and a new modern family.
    It would be unconscionable for a law that would make you disclose whatever you keep private, to do what this bill does.
    You stated your support for your gay friends in this bill, but not for yourself. I think you need a more radical approach, you should ask your gay friends to oppose such a bill that marginalizes transgender people until those dirty little clauses go. They can wait a little long until your Parliament gets it right! I know when it's tantalizingly close, this is hard to ask, but how else are the MP's going to take it seriously our concerns.
    Great article honey, and I'm glad to have read it.
    Best of luck
    Erica F, New York, USA

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    1. Thanks Erica. Interesting to hear about the US situation with respect to continuing marriage. I didn't realise. And with respect to the disclosure of private information, I can quite imagine that such a law in the US would have constitutional lawyers in meltdown.

      Re the LG community and their joy about the passing of this law...well I don't want to rain on that parade. It has been a long fought battle for them, and they deserve it. Some in the LG community understand the issues in play for trans people, but others do not. Being lesbian or gay of course does not give you an automatic insight into the trans experience. We have strong supporters from these communities in the UK, whilst we also receive some hostility too (RadFems are noisy in the UK). Others are ambivalent. Sometimes the advancement of lesbian and gay rights in this country has been at the expense of trans rights, and in the past the trans community has sometimes felt quite betrayed by the LG movement here.

      I hope and believe that is changing...but as lesbian and gay people gradually (finally, deservedly) achieve full legal equality in all aspects of life here, the inevitable consequence will be the disappearance of activists from this group. And trans people will have to fight for themselves. As we are starting to.

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    2. We face similar issues at the the hands of the GL community too, they don't not share our experience. Although they have paved the way in many areas, you're right, we need to fight for ourselves. Oh and RadFem's make me ill, I would probably be arrested if I was confronted in person by one (at least I would be sorely tempted)!
      All I know is that I have been forced to be more of activist because of transgender discrimination, and we need to come together both here at home and across the Pond as you like to say!
      Hugs!

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    3. Solidarity Erica :-)

      Very much in favour of cross-Pond bonds!

      The more I think about this 'disclosure' issue, the more angry I get, actually.

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    4. As a white gentile, for you to compare a law that requires trans people to reveal their trans status to their spouses whose only repercussion is an annulment with laws which led to the genocide for Jewish and Romani people is racist and antisemitic on numerous levels.

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    5. I pondered whether to publish this comment. But I have decided to as I feel it needs to be heard, and answered.

      First of all, yes I am white and a gentile. Second, I do not believe myself to anti semitic, or racist. As I am neither Jewish nor non-white though I understand that if those groups feel I am being either of these things - even if I don't mean to be - then they may have a point. So I apologise if any words I used gave that impression. My intention could not have been more different.

      The issues surrounding the disclosure of transgender status - before marriage (when the spouse can now block transition), after marriage, or to a potential sexual partner, or frankly to anyone, are complex and fraught with genuine danger of a sort faced by few other groups these days. The annulment (if that is what happens, in one scenario - marriage) is just one small aspect. Social vilification and isolation are 'normal' for trans people who 'go public'. There is often public ridicule. Hate speech or harassment from the media (or the sort that would put the author in court were it directed at racial or ethnic groups) is routine. Loss of family, friends, very common. Loss of job - still happens, or discrimination at work. Plus the many subtle forms of discrimination that come into play, over and over.

      Transition is a period in which most - repeat most - male to female transsexual people receive public abuse or worse. Violence is very far from uncommon, even in the UK, and nor is murder. The murder of male-to-female trans people in some countries has reached truly horrifying levels - especially considering the number there are in the population. In the UK, three people I have known have committed suicide, many others I know have attempted it, because of all this. And I have spent time with the family of one person who was murdered. And all that before the law started to move further against trans people as it now is.

      In law, in the UK, trans people now occupy the status of being the ONLY group whose identity is enough to make sexual intercourse with someone an offence, depending on the amount of information shared prior to it. The State allows trans people to be seen as 'lesser' in many ways, and it bases this legal position not on anything they have or haven't done but 1. Who they are and 2. Their history. Meanwhile, in many countries, in Europe too, transitioning people continue to be sterilised by the state as a precondition of being allowed papers in their authentic gender. I could go on.

      While we are on the subject of the Holocaust of course, I'm sure you are fully aware that along with the tragedy that befell the Jewish and Roma peoples, LGBT people were also murdered in appalling numbers.

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  6. A bit late to the party, but if I may express a contrary opinion.

    If a "heteronormative" man does not wish to marry a male-to-female transsexual, why should the law assist a male-to-female transsexual in that deception? The same would apply to a "heteronormative" woman.

    Many people want to have children, and marrying a transsexual person would mean they couldn't have children. While they might be willing to accept this if their spouse happened to be naturally infertile, a man who marries a woman who was once a man cannot have children with that person. They wouldn't even be able to ue the IVF route to have kids because she wouldn't even have ovaries.

    But this is all by the by. The fact of the matter is that many people do not wish to enter into relationships with transsexual people, and their choice should also be respected. I may support the right of transsexual people to have the freedom to present themselves as their chosen gender, and not have to disclose this in pretty much all of their day to day lives, but when it comes to personal relationships, then their rights clash with others' rights to decide who they want to be in a relationship with.

    The law is very specific about the circumstances in which a failure to disclose may have consequences, and as far as I can tell, the consequences are relatively non-controversial. The deceived partner gets an annulment if he/she wishes to. The law does not make it a crime not to disclose this, and comparisons with Nazi laws are so wide off the mark as to be insulting.

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  7. I find this comment unpleasant, full of familiar misunderstanding and familiar prejudice.

    I am a woman. End of. It is ultimately down to me, I have the right to define my own identity. I needed to travel a journey to bring congruity between who I knew I was, and the physical characteristics I was dealt and I have done that.

    Your comment about infertility is easy to deal with. Other women who are infertile may choose to tell a prospective partner before sex or marriage - it's probably the best option in many cases. But the law does NOT say they must. They are, correctly, given this right. You might say this brings them into conflict "with others' rights to decide who they want to be in a relationship with", but the law favours neither party. No woman will go to jail for not sharing this information. Even more than that, an individual with a serious communicable disease, or even a criminal record for domestic abuse (to use two extreme examples) does not have to disclose such things in law to a potential partner. Why not? Surely these things too affect the others' rights?

    The law does not rule on these things because it is impossible to draw the line. What should or shouldn't be 'disclosed'? And before what? Marriage? Sex? What counts as relevant or not? The the law has largely said it is down to the individuals concerned (with the notable exception of being already married if you want to marry someone).

    However, a special case is made for people with my background. You seem to support it by your use of the phrase "why should the law assist a male-to-female transsexual in that deception" (which I find deeply offensive). Despite two pieces of primary legislation passed in this country - The Gender Recognition Act and The Equality Act - I do not have the right to privacy, to make my OWN choice. Personally I cannot imagine not telling a prospective partner, but I want that to be my decision. Unfortunately for me my commitment to being open puts me at risk of abuse (I have had plenty), violence and severely limits my chances of forming a long term relationship ever again as many men feel frightened by what they worry such news might say about them. They are terrified it might mean they are gay, or some version of it.

    It says nothing at all. I am a woman, you are a man, that is all. If you were heterosexual before, you still are.

    Unless you, Anonymous, do not believe this. Unless you believe that people with my past SHOULD be singled out in law - the only ones. If you do, there can only be one reason for this, and its in your repeated use of the idea of 'deception'. You do not believe I am female. You believe that underneath it all, I am actually male...and in some way trying to 'pass myself off'. Lying to you. You do not respect my right for me to define my gender and to have the rights of that gender. You have decided that you have more claim to that right - for me to define myself - than I do.

    Using the term 'heteronormative' also suggests to me that you take this view. I have some news for you. I am a 'heteronormative' woman. I like men. You are using terms which describe sexuality. None of this is about that. It is about gender identity.

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  8. Yes, you have the right (the law gives it to you) to define yourself as who you want, but other also have the right to decide that they do not want to be in a relationship with a transsexual person.

    Why is this so hard to accept? Why should the law make it very hard for one group of people to be able to make an informed choice about who they want to be in a relationship with? Why should the law enable others to lie or omit such a crucial detail when it clearly matters to many people in their personal relationships?

    It is obvious that you want the right to not disclose your past to potential partners, and the law gives you that right, but with the proviso that if it leads to marriage, the other party has a right to an annulment if they later discover that they had not been informed and it bothers them.

    Your rights end where others' rights begin.

    This isn't about singling out anyone in law. This is a common sense provision because the nature of sexual relationships is complex, people's practices and preferences are wide ranging and the law cannot attempt to legislate what people should care about and what they shouldn't care about. The law is merely stating the obvious - some people may not wish to marry someone who is transsexual, and therefore, if this wasn't disclosed to them, then this is grounds for annulment. As are a number of other things that are completely legal, but could still be grounds for annulment.

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    1. This is utter rubbish, and what's more utter rubbish emitted by someone who hasn't got the guts to identify him/herself. Your arguments are undermined most obviously by the fact that your are not arguing from a POV of letting us know who you are.

      However, if someone is attracted by someone else, then it does not matter about their trans status unless they are extraordinarily bigoted, presumably like you. I would like to avoid marrying a bigot like you, maybe I should have the right to see everything you post on social media, or maybe that is why you are disguising your identity, since prospective partners are likely to be put off forming a relationship with you by your vile attitudes.

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    2. 'the nature of sexual relationships is complex,'

      Is it? How? There is consent. What more is there?

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    3. I find the arguments, here, perverse.

      If the issue of children is important to one or both people in the relationship, then the mature thing to do is to discuss it. This applies whether either a man or woman is infertile or simply doesn't want children. It is not uniquely a trans issue.

      And if someone does not want to enter into a relationship with a trans person, then the advice is straightforward - don't. However, if a relationship is meeting all your needs - compatability, sex, children, other - surely that is all anyone can ever ask for?

      In truth, you are statistically far, far more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease or infection than to have sex with woman with a trans history.

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    4. I find your argument bizarre. 'Informed choice' - informed of what exactly? That I "used to be 'a man"? I didn't.

      "Your rights end where others' rights begin"? What does that mean? My rights are conditional? So much for equality, in any sense then.

      And you have failed to answer the principle question. Why is that someone who - for example - is infertile is not subject in law to having their marriage annulled if this is not 'disclosed' beforehand? This surely interferes with the other person's right to make 'an informed choice'? For that matter, if an individual is bisexual...and has had many undisclosed relationships with same sex partners before being married...this is not legal grounds for annulment either. Though both of these situations could potentially cause difficulties in a marriage, and they might even cause a breakdown, they do not constitute grounds per se. There are plenty of other examples of the primacy of individual rights in relationships...abortion is one (whatever your views) - if a woman decides to have an abortion she does not need in law to take account of her partner's opinions or the effect on the latter rights to make 'informed choices' (about family in this case).

      You say the law gives me the right not to disclose my past unless it ends up in marriage. Well perhaps not so, Three cases have gone to court over 'sex by deception' allegations. No marriage involved. All three identified as trans. All three were found guilty. Case law is being made.

      You then say this isn't about singling anyone out in law. And then you go on to single me out - as the law does. You are not making any sense to me. The practical implications of that law cause me deep personal unhappiness (its classic discrimination by the uncomprehending privileged majority) - but for some they can result in being subject to abuse and violence (because a physically violent reaction from the other is not uncommon if one partner HAS to disclose before even going to bed and has the right to make that decision for themselves removed). Whilst you might not support the use of violence, your argument does allow for it, because it gives the moral authority to the person dishing it out. It makes that reaction understandable, because - and you keep using this word - the other person is 'lying'.

      The law makes a special case for me, denying the veracity of my gender in this situation. So, below all this, do you. If you did not, this would not be an issue. I would, as far as the law was concerned, and as far as you are concerned I suspect, be just another woman marrying a man,

      I am - in my lived experience now, physically, emotionally, spiritually, legally (it IS the law, as per the Gender Recognition Act that I am, 'for all legal purposes', female), any way you want to define it, a woman.

      Not for you though. For you, I cannot be fully female. I am a special case. There needs to be a 'provision' for me and the world needs to be 'protected' from me. I'm sorry, you seem to be trying to address this thoughtfully, but your attitude is what I and so many of us are fighting. It seems to spring from the same place as so much prejudice women with my background face.

      I am going to add (again) that I find your use of terminology around deception and 'lying' pretty offensive, and ask you to refrain from using it.

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  9. Sorry, I meant to add something else.

    If, despite everything, it is still an issue that troubles you, then again the mature thing is to ask any potential partner about their history ahead of any commitment. You could, at the same time, also ask about any other issues that may be a problem for you, such as Jewish ancestry, mixed race background or any other prejudice that you may wish to indulge.

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