Press release

Gender Recognition Act review announced in plan for transgender equality

A package of work and review of the Gender Recognition Act has been unveiled to ensure transgender people are given the support they need

A new package of work to ensure transgender people are given the support they need – including a review of the Gender Recognition Act – has been unveiled by Women and Equalities Minister, Nicky Morgan today.

We know that for some transgender people, the legal process to change their gender has proved distressing, with some being asked to recount traumatic details of past surgery. The system will look to move away from a focus on medical checks, where people often feel like they are treated as if they have a mental illness, to one that really works for trans people.

The new review will look to tackle unnecessary red tape and make the process fit for the 21st Century – rather than causing needless distress for those changing their legal gender.

Supported by a new action plan for transgender equality, Government will be working collectively to:

  • Conduct a cross-Government review on removing unnecessary requests for gender information including in official documents;

  • Improve the way people are supported by gender identity services through work on training for NHS staff; and

  • Tackle harassment and bullying in higher education by working with universities.

Alongside the package, the Government has announced it will be looking at better ways to collect information about transgender people, including a study to measure the size of the UK’s transgender population. And this year, for the first time, the British Social Attitudes Survey will include a range of questions on public attitudes towards transgender people thanks to Government intervention.

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said:

“No-one should have to face discrimination or live in fear because of who they are. We must set the pace on this agenda and lead the way in better understanding and supporting our trans people. That’s why I am delighted to announce that we will be reviewing the Gender Recognition Act – helping overturn an outdated system and ensure the transgender person’s needs are at the heart of the process.

“It’s fantastic to see trans issues increasingly on the public agenda. But we still don’t know enough – that’s why we are going to work with transgender people to understand more about the issues facing them.”

The move comes following figures which identified trans young people in England were nearly twice as likely to have attempted suicide in their life compared to non-transgender peers and were nearly three times more likely to have self-harmed than their non-transgender peers in the study.

We have announced a further £1million toward tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools, which builds on the previous £2m fund that funded eight projects across the country training over 20,000 teachers.

Minister for Women, Equalities and Family Justice Caroline Dinenage said:

“To really achieve equality, we have to provide equal support and pay equal attention to the needs of all LGB&T groups.

“That’s why today’s announcement is so important. By reviewing the legal process of changing your gender, rethinking when and why we collect gender information, and working with the transgender community to better understand the problems they face, we take another vital step towards achieving true equality for transgender people.”

The announcements today follow an inquiry by the Women and Equalities Select Committee on transgender equality, and build on the government’s transgender action plan published in 2011. As part of this, we recently published guidance for employers and service providers to help improve knowledge and understanding of transgender issues.

We will continue to consider the Committee’s other recommendations, influenced by our work to better understand transgender people.

Notes to Editors:

For more information please call the Government Equalities Office Newsdesk on 020 7783 8300.

The Government response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee will be published on the here.

We have published guidance for employers and service providers to help improve knowledge and understanding about supporting transgender individuals.

We increased the length of sentences for transgender hate crimes, bringing sentencing for these offences in line with other hate crimes.

The world’s first transgender equality action plan was published in 2011. This followed the largest ever survey of trans people in Britain.

In 2013, trans young people (under 26) in England were nearly twice as likely (48%) to have attempted suicide in their life compared to non-transgender peers (26%).

Trans young people were nearly three times more likely to have self-harmed in the preceding 12 months (59%) than their non-transgender peers in the study (22%).