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Wed, 30 September 2020

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Individuals to self-identify their gender under new Government plans

Individuals to self-identify their gender under new Government plans
2 min read

The Government is to bring forward proposals to make it easier for individuals to legally change their gender. 


A consultation will be launched in the autumn on the current provisions of the Gender Recognition Act, which currently requires a person to live for two years as their desired gender before they can officially change sex.

The Government is also suggesting scrapping the requirement for people to be formally diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” before applying to switch gender.

The current law says people wanting to be legally recognised as the opposite to their birth gender in the UK need to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

This is issued by the Gender Recognition Panel, a judicial body which legally determines what gender an individual defines as.

Equalities Secretary Justine Greening said the Act, brought forward in 2004, was “cutting edge” at the time but now needs reformed.

“This Government is committed to building an inclusive society that works for everyone, no matter what their gender or sexuality, and today we're taking the next step forward,” she said.

“We will build on the significant progress we have made over the past 50 years, tackling some of the historic prejudices that still persist in our laws and giving LGBT people a real say on the issues affecting them.”

The announcement is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. 

Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, welcomed the plans. “We need a simple process which isn’t medicalised, intrusive or demeaning,” she said.

Suzanna Hopwood, a member of the Stonewall Trans Advisory Group, said reform was a key priority for removing "huge inequalities" for trans people.

“It's vital that this reform removes the requirements for medical evidence and an intrusive interview panel, and finally allows all trans people to have their gender legally recognised through a simple administrative process.”

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