I believe that we should have equality across all aspects of our society, including for the LGBT+ community and I welcome the progress we have made as a society in advancing equality for transgender people. The UK has a strong record in terms of LGBT+ rights and human rights and I am keen for us to continue to ensure that LGBT+ people, wherever they live, are safe to go about their lives without fear of crime or harassment. It is equally important that we protect women's rights and freedoms. I, therefore, understand that reforming the Gender Recognition Act is both a complex and sensitive matter.
Despite much progress in recent years, I recognise that more must be done to help transgender people with the unique and often difficult challenges they face. I therefore support the hard work that my colleagues in the Government Equalities Office have been doing recently in order to form their response to the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act. Understandably, the Coronavirus outbreak has complicated things somewhat, but I have received reassurances from the department that they plan to publish their response in the summer. I do not wish to pre-empt the consultation response but will take the time to study the detail of it in due course.
The sensitive nature of the reform of the Gender Recognition Act is such that everyone's views must be heard and listened to. I am especially glad that the Minister for Women and Equalities, the Rt. Hon Liz Truss, has recently said that any reforms made will ensure the protection of single-sex spaces, I recognise this is extremely important and support this approach.
In addition, I know that many people also have concerns about the impact of this legislation on children. I have raised this with colleagues in the Government and Equalities Office who have assured me of their commitment to ensuring under 18s are protected from making decisions that are irreversible in the future. I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to live their life as they wish but I do think it is very important that we protect children, who are still developing their decision-making processes and capabilities, from taking action which they potentially cannot reverse.
I understand that there are concerns about how this may affect transgender rights more widely and I know these are being considered by my colleagues in the Government Equalities Office. This is a complex area to reform and I want to ensure that the Government has the time to get the balance right.