What you can do

GRA in England and Wales

The Scottish Government has already consulted on making gender recognition laws fairer– now we need your help to support trans people in England and Wales.

Help make trans equality a reality for the rest of the UK by responding to the UK Government’s consultation.

What’s wrong with the Gender Recognition Act?

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) governs how trans people can have their identity legally recognised. This was groundbreaking in its time – it’s now seriously out of date and needs reform.

At the moment, trans people have to endure a long and demeaning process to ‘prove’ their gender identity. It’s not just distressing, it’s bureaucratic, costly and inaccessible to many trans people.

Read more about the current Gender Recognition Act.

Hear from trans people about why reform matters.

How can I speak out for trans rights?

Following on from consultations in Scotland, the UK government has launched a public consultation on how to improve these laws. This is our chance to support trans people in England and Wales, and help create trans equality across the UK. 

You don’t have to be an expert to take part. We take you through the key questions below with guidance on how to respond.

Top tips for responding to the Gender Recognition Act consultation

The consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition gives us all a chance to speak up for trans rights. Trans people’s voices must be front and centre, but you don’t have to be trans or an ‘expert’ to respond. Progress on trans equality is crucial to progress on LGBT equality. That’s why we all need to show our support.

There are 21 questions in the full consultation. We’ve shared some tips for responding to seven of the questions that are most critical to the priorities for reform set out in A Vision For Change.

Question 2: If you are a trans person, please tell us what having a Gender Recognition Certificate means or would mean to you?

You only need to fill this in if you are trans or non-binary.

You can use this question to explain any difficulties you have faced without a Gender Recognition Certificate, the difference that legal recognition would make to you in affirming your identity and going about your life, or to comment on anything about the current process which may have put you off applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

 

Question 3: Do you think there should be a requirement in the future for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria? Please answer YES or NO. Please explain the reasons for your answer.

Anyone can answer this question.

The current process to get a Gender Recognition Certificate is long, complicated, costly and medicalised. A diagnosis of gender dysphoria positions being trans as a medical condition, which is dehumanising and demeaning and puts many trans people off applying. That's why we would answer NO to this question.

 

Question 4: Do you also think there should be a requirement for a report detailing treatment received? Please answer YES or NO. Please explain the reasons for your answer.

Anyone can answer this question.

Requiring medical treatment reports as part of the process of applying for a Gender Recognition Act reinforces a medicalised view of being trans, which does not reflect most trans people’s experience. It should not be up to a medical professional to decide whether someone is ‘trans enough’. It is another intrusive and dehumanising factor about the current process that puts people off applying. That’s why we would answer NO to this question.

 

Question 5: Do you agree that an applicant should have to provide evidence that they have lived in their acquired gender for a period of time before applying? Please answer YES or NO. Please explain the reasons for your answer.

Anyone can answer this question.

Currently trans people have to provide evidence of living in their ‘acquired gender’ for two years as part of the process for applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate. It is another example of trans people having to prove that they are ‘trans enough’, which is dehumanising and puts trans people off applying. That's why we would answer NO to this question.

Instead, we would like to see a simple administrative process based on self-determination in line with best practice in other countries, such as Ireland, Malta, Argentina and Norway. With self-determination, a trans person does not need to be diagnosed with a medical condition or prove themselves as ‘trans enough’.

 

Question 7: The Government is keen to understand more about the spousal consent provisions for married persons in the GRA. Do you agree with the current provisions? Please answer YES or NO. Please explain the reasons for your answer.

Anyone can answer this question.

If a trans person is married, the current law allows their spouse to block their application for gender recognition. This denies trans people in this situation the right to determine their own gender identity. That's why we would answer NO to this question.

Instead, we would like to see a system that enables a trans person to get a gender recognition certificate without needing the permission of their spouse.

 

Question 11: Is there anything you want to tell us about how the current process of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate affects those who have a protected characteristic?

Anyone can answer this question.

There are nine 'protected characteristics' – including age, disability, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and sexual orientation – which are listed in the Equality Act 2010. This Act protects people from being discriminated against on the basis of any of these characteristics.

This question allows anyone to explain how the current gender recognition process impacts on them because of other parts of their identity.

We're urging people to use this question to raise the issue that trans people aged under 18 cannot apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Trans young people and their parents say this can be incredibly damaging, leading to young people being outed or mis-gendered. We believe 16 and 17 year-olds should have the same access to recognition, helping those starting full-time work or further education in their true gender. And we want to see a recognition process for under-16s incorporating parental consent.

We recommend young trans people and their families share their experiences of the barriers currently faced due to this lack of recognition.

 

Question 20: Currently, UK law does not recognise any gender other than male or female. Do you think that there need to be changes to the Gender Recognition Act to accommodate individuals who identify as non-binary? Please answer YES or NO. If you would like to, please expand on your answer.

Anyone can answer this question.

Currently you can only be legally recognised as male or female. This does not work for non-binary people. This means a large group of people face inequalities and discrimination because their identity is not recognised in law. That's why we would answer YES to this question.

Instead, we would like to see legal recognition for non-binary people.

 

Submit to the consultation.

 

Why it matters

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