A must read: Gender recognition – pouring FACTS on flames!

Ed: I’m telling you this is a must read. Our Rev Stewart is too modest for such a claim.

By stewartb

Keen to shed light and not generate more heat on issues around reform of gender recognition legislation, in what follows the objective is to offer information which helps give context and perspective. The aim is also to avoid the polemical – well almost!

2021 Census data for England and Wales

The last Census in England and Wales was held on 21 March 2021. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has begun to publish findings, including responses to the question: “Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?”

This Census question on gender identity was a voluntary one asked of those aged 16 years and over.  Respondents had the option of selecting either “Yes”, or selecting “No” and writing in their gender identity.

Source: Office for National Statistics (6 January 2023) Gender identity, England and Wales: Census 2021 – The gender identity of usual residents aged 16 years and over in England and Wales, Census 2021 data.

See https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/culturalidentity/genderidentity/bulletins/genderidentityenglandandwales/census2021 

In summary these are the findings:

  • 45.7 million (94.0% of the population aged 16 years and over) answered the voluntary question (my emphasis)
  • 45.4 million (93.5%) answered “Yes”
  • 262,000 (0.5%) answered “No”
  • the remaining 2.9 million (6.0%) did not answer the question.

For the group of 262,000 people who answered “No”, indicating that their gender identity is different from their sex registered at birth, the ONS supplies additional information from the Census returns:

  • 118,000 (0.24%) answered “No” but did not provide a write-in response
  • 48,000 (0.10%) identified as a trans man
  • 48,000 (0.10%) identified as a trans woman
  • 30,000 (0.06%) identified as non-binary
  • 18,000 (0.04%) wrote in a different gender identity.

Definition of terms

For background, it is relevant here to note what the ONS provides as definitions in a ‘Glossary:

Gender identity – ‘refers to a person’s sense of their own gender, whether male, female or another category such as non-binary. This may or may not be the same as their sex registered at birth.’

Non-binary – ‘someone who is non-binary does not identify with the binary categories of man and woman. In these results the category includes people who identified with the specific term “non-binary” or variants thereon. However, those who used other terms to describe an identity which was neither specifically man nor woman have been classed in “All other gender identities”.’

Trans man – ‘A trans man is someone who was registered female at birth, but now identifies as a man.’

Trans woman – ‘A trans woman is someone who was registered male at birth, but now identifies as a woman.’

Gender Recognition Certification in UK – statistics

Statistics in the UK are available going back to 2005/6 on the number of people applying for and being granted a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) by HM Courts and Tribunal Service’s (HMCTS) Gender Recognition Panel.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Source: ‘Official Statistics: Tribunal Statistics Quarterly: October to December 2021 – Type and volume of tribunal cases received, disposed of or outstanding. This also includes statistics on GRCs applied for and granted by the Gender Recognition Panel.’

See https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunal-statistics-quarterly-october-to-december-2021  – see ‘Main Tables (October to December 2021)’ which actually provide data from 2005/06 to 2021/22 Q3.

Over the 16 years up to 2020/21, essentially up to the date of the 2021 Census in England and Wales, 5,816 full GRCs were granted to individuals across the UK through the ‘standard track’ procedure. In the first two years of the scheme i.e. 2005/06 and 2006/07, there were 1,179 and 530 GRCs granted respectively. Thereafter, the number of ‘standard track’ GRCs granted per annum has fallen to between 228 and 399.

The total number of GRC’s granted via the ‘overseas track’ – operating from 2009/10 – is 160 in the 12 years to 2020/21, the date of the Census. There are no data here on where those using the ‘overseas track’ have come from. Potentially some may have obtained their UK GRC based solely by providing to the Panel a self-ID based GRC previously issued in their home country.

The official data on GRCs granted in the UK also provide a breakdown of the successful applicants’ gender at birth (male or female). Over the 16 years to 2020/21, 4,226 were male at birth and 1,784 were female at birth, a ratio of  2.4 to one. In the first five years up to 2009/10 the ratio was always above 3 to 1. More recently, in the five years to 2020/21 this ratio changed substantially to just 2.2 to 1 in 2016/17 and then fell to below 2 to 1 during the next four years.

Gender Recognition Certification in Ireland

In 2022, the Irish Government published its seventh annual report on the operation of Ireland’s Gender Recognition Act 2015.

See: Department of Social Protection, Irish Government (30 June, 2022) Gender Recognition Act 2015 – Annual Report for 2021 (Prepared in accordance with section 6 of the Act) (https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/229878/0f6af431-22d8-498f-9598-64d4b469a63f.pdf#page=null )

‘The report provides information on the operation of the processes and procedures set down in the Act. Information on applications made for a gender recognition certificate, applications where an applicant already has recognition in another jurisdiction, applications to revoke a gender recognition certificate by the holder, revocations of gender recognition certificates by the Minister, and correction to a gender recognition certificate.’

The principal features of Ireland’s Act include provisions for:

  • a self-declaration model for transgender people aged 18 or over to seek recognition of their gender
  • the use of the term ‘preferred gender’ in the wording of the Act
  • arrangements for gender recognition for children aged 16 to 18
  • the registration of a person in a Register of Gender Recognition permitting the issue of birth certificates in the preferred name and gender of the person; and
  • alignment of legislation in relation to the issuing of passports and other aspects of citizenship.

The table below taken from the official annual report provides information on the number of GRCs granted on the basis of the Act’s self-ID procedure for the years 2015 to the end of 2021.

A total of 882 GRCs have been granted in Ireland since the self-ID legislation was passed in September 2015.

The table below gives a breakdown of the GRCs granted since 2015 in terms of the transitions involved. The overall male to female transitions account for 51.5% of all GRCs granted to those over 18 years. In the 16-17 year old cohort, female to male transitions dominate to date.

Under section 9(1)(b) of Ireland’s Act, a non-Irish born resident of the State may apply for a gender recognition certificate. A total of 169 gender  recognition  certificates  have  been  issued  under  this  section  since  the commencement of the Act (an average of c.28 per annum)

Section 11(2) of the Act allows a person who has changed gender in another jurisdiction to apply for a gender recognition certificate. Since the commencement of the Act a total of 15 certificates have been issued under this provision (on average 2-3 per annum).

Some general observations

Whilst acknowledging the ‘rough and ready’ nature of the following comparison, it still seems to me noteworthy that the number of UK GRCs issued by the Gender Recognition Panel over the 16 years to 2021 (viz. 5,816) is two orders of magnitude smaller than the number of individual respondents to the 2021 Census who identified with a gender that differs from their sex registered at birth (viz. 262,000). It suggests many individuals in the UK are already ‘identifying’ with a gender different from the sex registered at birth.

Secondly, the scale and distribution over time of GRCs issued in Ireland under self-ID procedures since 2015 is 882 (on average c. 132 per annum) may give an indication of what may occur in Scotland in future. Ireland and Scotland’s populations are of similar size. 

It is relevant to note that Ireland is part of the ‘Common Travel Area’ with the UK: under the CTA, ‘British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.’ (from UK Government description, 23 December 2022)

Of course, the UK does NOT operate self-ID gender recognition whilst Ireland does.

As a member of the EU, Ireland participates in ‘freedom of movement’ arrangements: many of the member states of the EU do NOT operate self-ID gender recognition procedures (yet), although some like Ireland already do.

It is in the context of the rights of individuals to move freely between nation states that the following statistics in Ireland are of note:

  • just 15 GRCs over the period of 6-7 years have been issued in Ireland to individuals who changed gender in another jurisdiction
  • 169 GRCs over the period of 6-7 years have been issued in Ireland to individuals that were non-Irish born residents of the State.

On 18 December 2022, the Daily Record newspaper gave headline prominence to a scaremongering statement from a member of the House of Lords, Lord McConnell: ‘A former Labour First Minister has claimed new gender recognition proposals could lure sex offenders to Scotland.’ (The word ‘could’ is working overtime here!)  On the same day the Scotsman had this headline: ‘risks providing incentive for sex offenders to come to Scotland’. Unsurprisingly, The Telegraph also joined in.

Has this influx of criminals happened in Ireland? Or in countries such as Norway and Denmark which operate self-ID gender recognition procedures AND enjoy porous borders with freedom of movement with EU member states? Did Lord McConnell – or the journalists involved – even TRY to find out?


5 thoughts on “A must read: Gender recognition – pouring FACTS on flames!

  1. Thanks Stewartb, a great piece of work and what a shame some Scottish “journalists” couldn’t have done this to give the debate some context. I wonder if this has any bearing on the Tory scuppering of the Scottish census when they seemed to be discouraging folk to complete the census partly because of gender questions? I hope you share your post with any journalist still trying to stir up the issue

    I’d like to add a few quotes I found when researching the debate re Section 28

    In the Daily Record, there were a range of discourses which marginalized homosexual identities by emphasising their flawed nature or their threat to children.

    This notion of protecting children from the threat of homosexuality is consistently reiterated in the press reporting: The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday entered the debate, insisting that Section 28 was a matter of concern to him. Dr George Carey said: With or without Section 28, we need to be sure that there are adequate safeguards in place for schools and pupils (Daily Record,24.01.00 p2)

    This construction of a compulsive homosexuality which must have new recruits, resonates with understandings of lesbians and gays as excessively sexualised, unrestrained in their sexual behaviour and predatory, thus connecting a cultural circuit in which homosexuals are political slaves to their obsession with sex, without regard for their own physical and spiritual well-being, and unable to participate in the polity without threatening other fundamental, indeed, natural rights, such as those of children to be protected from homosexuality.
    The next six months will be dominated by an issue likely to offend the majority and confirm MSPs put their own politically correct agenda before the peoples priorities. (Tom Brown, conservative commentator, Daily Record 17.01.00, p.8) 

    [Cardinal Winning said] What pains me is that the silent majority are so silent that the silence is deafening. I wish to God they would speak up. But when you do say something about it, you are accused of homophobia which is absolute rubbish…(Daily Record,18.01.00, p.6)  Clearly it would not suit those campaigning to keep the clause to consider the possibility that the ‘deafening’ silence of the majority was simply an indication of their lack of interest, or even of their support for the repeal. strathprints.strath.ac.uk/1551/6/strathprints001551.pdf

    “It’s always been a problem when your ID doesn’t match your identity in a job interview, or at the doctor’s office, or when boarding public transport,” she said. “We are so happy to get to this point. It seemed it was never going to come.”The bill sponsored by the far-left Unidas Podemos, or United We Can party, the junior partner in the coalition government, will become law once it is passed by the Senate, a step expected by the end of the year.Its passage in the lower house followed an intense 18-month-long parliamentary debate. It was fiercely opposed by right-wing opposition parties and also created some divisions with the Socialist party of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. The Socialists tried to introduce an amendment requesting court supervision for people up to age 16 wanting to change their registered gender. The version approved Thursday included the requirement only for people under 13. https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/lgbt-groups-celebrate-spain-passes-transgender-law-95705520

    There was plenty more but it all seems very familiar to the current debate

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We are in your debt Stewart for putting the ‘problem’ into context so clearly. Thank you.
    However – and this is not directed at you Stewart – one thing troubles me. The context you have set out suggests clearly that the issue is in statistical terms highly insignificant – the census in England & Wales suggests a fraction of 1% consider their gender does not match their biological sex. So two uncertainties for me at least. If the figures in Scotland are similar (and why would they not be?) then we are talking about something like 25000 who consider their gender is not their biological sex.
    1. when debating the issue rather than leaving the opposition (Tory!) to exaggerate was the context not more clearly set out. I mean the numbers are such that the likelihood of any one of us meeting a trans person in our day to day lives must be remarkably small. Put short why was the scaremongering (or to use John’s phrase “moral panic” (c) Stan Cohen) not nailed by numbers such as these
    2. More practically, given this, why has the FM allowed such an amount of political capital to be burned on the alter of this matter (trans rights) when there was something much more important (and which would put her policy on beyond the reach of such as Alister Jack) to deal with – independence.
    If the Scottish Government had taken a more front foot approach to this matter we might not be where we are now. Why not rely on the stats for such as Ireland (and other countries) and challenge such as DRoss to tell us why Scotland would be exceptional? Call out ACH and Sarwar to support the SG’s position when their parties did (by and large) vote for it. Some of them enthusiastically! Why not debate some of the issues raised by such as Joanna Cherry to demonstrate that their fears are largely groundless and/or can be managed?
    I just don’t get it.
    Lastly, how contentious is it that if someone has lived as a transwoman (for instance) for several years that they should not have the same protections as a biological woman? Is “a transwoman is a woman” really a positive way to debate this? Or a good excuse for a rammy?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent stuff Stewart, the sort of analysis which was once the pride of UK journalism before the media mafia took over.

    This orchestrated propaganda war conducted in the UK against SG passing GRA Reforms relied heavily on conflation of the Equalities Act with the GRA, the foremost proponent of which was HMS James Cook with all the heavy lifting done by inference.

    One of the more interesting “inference” type events in this propaganda war in the UK had an unintended spillover effect in Ireland where it stirred up a hornet’s nest on forums – Helen Joyce (an Irish campaigner) appeared on GMB in the UK, and INFERRED 3 violent male convicts got “legal status as a woman by paying 5 pounds and filling in a form on-line” after being charged. https://youtu.be/A6DnKZlLcxg – You really need to listen to the way she constructed the deception to understand why folks were up in arms, but a deliberate deception it most definitely was.

    I did briefly try to find official rebuttal in the Irish press when this was recently cited as “proof” but failed to find one article, I’ve no idea why as Irish journalists stole the UK’s crown for honest reporting back in the 1990s.

    The only “honest” debate on GRA reforms took place in Holyrood and was passed cross-party, but rather than HMG accepting the deliberation and conclusion it was blocked by the Minister for Flounce in Scotland – Thence the already toxic propaganda war went into overdrive, with “SNP support falling” etc., but the comical aspect is the response of Scots is “meh”, another incontinent pigeon – “The news where you are” is not so easy to play these days.
    – When honest journalism fails, bedlam beckons… except in Scotland where it’s “Nick Robinson…. said nothing”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Proof that Westminster and Alistair Jackboots are just scoring cheap political points to put Scottish government under the thumb , they give no thought to the extended pain and strife they cause for those seeking a GRR.

    It all shows how many absolutely lazy idiots there are around who can’t be bothered finding out properly what GRR is all about and who it affects.

    A fair number of britnats are at it too tying GRR to Scottish independence saying you can have one ( we won’t tell you which one or how ) but not the other


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