Taskforce to study sex-swap legislation

TRANSSEXUALS COULD be given the legal right to marriage and protection from discrimination under proposals drawn up by the Government.

Jack Straw, Home Secretary, announced last night that he was creating a taskforce drawn from 12 Whitehall departments to review all legislation that affects people who have changed sex.

The Working Group on Transsexuals will consider the need for "appropriate legal measures" to tackle current problems caused by birth-certificate restrictions on marriage and other rights.

The group, to be chaired by senior Home Office staff, will report its findings to ministers by next Easter, Mr Straw announced in a written parliamentary answer to a question from Lynne Jones, Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak. Mr Straw said the body would consider the need for legal changes to address "the problems experienced by transsexuals, having due regard to scientific and societal developments", and look at the way other countries dealt with the issue.

His announcement follows a move yesterday by the Employment Department to alter regulations to allow transsexuals to be covered by the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act.

Britain is one of only four countries in Europe where transsexuals are not legally recognised. The others are Albania, Andorra and Ireland.

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