Closed petition Allow transgender people to self-define their legal gender

Transgender people in the UK are forced to pay to prove their identity to a Gender Recognition Panel. This process is humiliating, outdated and unnecessary. We urge the government to introduce an act equivalent to the Irish Gender Recognition Act, and allow trans* people to self-define their gender.

More details

Having your gender recognised by the Gender Recognition Panel requires trans* people to go to pointless expense - whether requiring them to pay administration fees (and having to go through the lengthy and underfunded NHS gender transition system) or paying to attend a private clinic to receive the required evidence as well as paying to be seen by the panel.

Furthermore: no provisions are made for non-binary gender identities.

http://www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/gender-recognition-panel

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

35,352 signatures

100,000

Government responded

The gender recognition process in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 was developed as a result of the Government’s commitment to allowing trans people to gain legal recognition in their acquired gender.

Read the response in full

The Gender Recognition Process

The general procedural requirements for gaining gender recognition were developed as a result of the Government’s commitment to allowing trans people who have taken decisive steps to live fully and permanently in the acquired gender to gain legal recognition in that gender, by establishing a robust and credible process to determine applications for recognition. The provisions are contained the in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA).

A person’s gender has important legal and social consequences. The state has a legitimate interest in ensuring that people who take on a new legal status can establish that they meet certain criteria. The required statements and evidence are limited to what is necessary to establish that an applicant meets the criteria for recognition.

There are no requirements for a trans person to apply for legal recognition; it is entirely a personal decision. Many trans people live and work in their acquired gender without feeling it necessary to apply for legal recognition. However, an application for gender recognition should only be made where a person has made a permanent decision to change their gender.

The Gender Recognition Panel, a judicial body, determines all applications for gender recognition and an applicant must prove to the satisfaction of the Panel that they meet all the requirements set out in the GRA. The requirements for applicants going via the standard route are that the applicant:

- has or has had gender dysphoria;
- has lived in the acquired gender throughout the two years immediately preceding the date on which the application is made;
- intends to continue to live in the acquired gender until death.

Applicants must also provide medical reports, from:
- a qualified medical professional who works in the field of gender dysphoria giving details of their diagnosis of gender dysphoria; and
- a GP or surgeon, detailing any surgery or treatment that the applicant has undergone to change their sexual characteristics.

In addition, applicants must provide documentary evidence in the form of:
- an original or certified copy of the birth certificate;
- an official change of name document or documents;
- documentary proof the applicant has lived in their acquired gender throughout the preceding two years.

If the Panel is satisfied that the applicant meets all the conditions in the GRA they must issue the applicant with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Fees

It is quite normal for people to pay for a whole range of services, for example, passports, birth and marriage certificates, drivers' licences, applications to the civil courts for a variety of issues. Given the cost involved in administering the gender recognition process, applications for gender recognition also carry a fee.

At present, the application fee stands at £140. So as to ensure that nobody is excluded from gaining legal recognition in their acquired gender, remissions and part remissions are available to those who are unable to pay the full fee. Traditionally a large percentage of applicants have been exempt from paying a fee.

Gender Identity Clinics

Current service provision in England is network-based, shaped around seven adult gender identity clinics, three providers of adult genital reconstruction surgery and one designated provider of gender identity development services for children, adolescents and young people.

Each gender identity clinic delivers services in compliance with contemporary, generic service standards for their discipline that respect the specific needs, values and dignity of transgender people.

In England, people accessing gender identity services have a legal right under the NHS Constitution to be seen within 18 weeks of referral.

Non-binary Gender

Non-binary gender is not recognised in UK law. Under the law of the United Kingdom, individuals are considered by the state to be of the gender that is registered on their birth certificate, either male or female.

Under the Gender Recognition Act, the Gender Recognitions Panel is only able to grant a certificate to enable the applicant to become either male or female. The Panel has no power to issue a certificate indicating a non-binary gender.

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination if it arises from their being perceived as either male or female. We recognise that a very small number of people consider themselves to be of neither gender. We are not aware that that results in any specific detriment, and it is not Government policy to identify such people for the purpose of issuing non-gender-specific official documents.

Ministry of Justice

Other parliamentary business

Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into Transgender Equality

Thank you for your interest in the UK Government and Parliament e-petitions website.

Regarding the e-petition that you signed, "Allow transgender people to self-define their legal gender", you may be interested to know that the Women and Equalities Select Committee of the Commons is currently looking into transgender equality issues. You can find out more about the inquiry, and how you can give the Committee your views, here:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/news-parliament-2015/inquiry-into-transgender-equality/

You can follow the inquiry on Twitter: @commonswomequ will be tweeting about the #transinquiry from early September.

When the committee hears evidence in September, you can watch it live at www.parliamentlive.tv. For more details, see the inquiry web page from early September.

Petition creator gives evidence to MPs

You recently signed a petition on the UK Government and Parliament Petitions website:

"Allow transgender people to self-define their legal gender".

We thought you might be interested to know that, as a result of this petition, the petition creator, Ashley Reed, will be speaking at the Women and Equalities Committee's third evidence session as part of its inquiry into transgender equality. The evidence session will take place on 13 October at 10:30am.

To find out more about the session, including how you can watch, visit: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/news-parliament-2015/evidence-transgender-inquiry-third-15-16/

To find out more about the Women and Equalities Committee visit: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/

Follow the Women and Equalities Committee @commonswomequ or follow the inquiry with #transinquiry.

Women and Equalities Committee hears from Ministers on transgender equality

The Women and Equalities Committee’s transgender equality inquiry will take its final evidence from six Government Ministers this Wednesday (28 October) at 2.30 pm on their plans for improving transgender equality. So it's a major event for transgender equality here in Parliament.

The Committee @commonswomequ is keen to take the discussion beyond the committee room and out into the community, so we're encouraging everyone who's watching to livetweet: #transinquiry.

The session will cover a range of issues which have been raised by inquiry witnesses, including specialist organisations, medical and legal experts, and individuals, including Ashley Reed, who started the petition which you signed calling for transgender people to have the legal right to self-define their gender... and by the hundreds of individual trans people who have written to the committee about their own experiences.

You can watch live here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/505f7377-2dd2-4428-9615-711432858a7c

Please share this with your friends, loved ones, colleagues, and anyone else who would be interested in hearing what Ministers have to say about the future of transgender equality.

Issues likely to be covered include: Gender identity services - possible improvements to current services including waiting times; appropriate treatment for gender variant children; the ‘spousal veto’ under which married trans people need their spouse’s agreement before reassignment; tackling hate crime effectively; possible inclusion of non-gendered status (*X) in passports; current media regulation arrangements and protection from transphobic coverage; operation of the rules which allow exclusion from single sex sporting activities. Then in the second panel, workplace equality and discrimination in employment; Government action plan: cross departmental plans; looked-after young trans people; Equality Act 2010: possible reforms, including terminology, and whether the protected characteristic should be changed to just gender identity; Gender Recognition Act, and whether individuals be allowed to self-define. Privacy, data protection issues and ‘outing’.

You can find out more about the inquiry, and watch and read the evidence so far, here:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/transgender-equality/

Women and Equalities Committee publish report on transgender equality

On Thursday 14 January, the Woman and Equalities Committee published a report on transgender equality.

The Committee referred to the petition you signed, as well as the evidence that Ashley Reed (who started the petition) gave to the inquiry. Its report said:

‘In July 2015, Ashley Reed initiated a petition on the UK Government and Parliament petitions website advocating that trans people should be able to define their own gender for the purposes of obtaining a GRC, along the lines of the Irish Gender Recognition Act 2015'.

'We invited Ashley to give evidence to us. She told us: it is humiliating to have your gender assessed by someone else. You are the only person who can come to that realisation, not a panel. It is an outdated system. The current system just does not provide for what is the majority of trans people nowadays. In terms of expense, there is a £140 fee, which can be subsidised or paid for, but it is a system that puts a lot of people off applying. It certainly put me off applying, because I do not feel it necessary to have my gender looked at by a group of people.’

In relation to allowing trans people to self-define their gender, the Committee recommended that:

‘Within the current Parliament, the Government must bring forward proposals to update the Gender Recognition Act, in line with the principles of gender self-declaration that have been developed in other jurisdictions. In place of the present medicalised, quasi-judicial application process, an administrative process must be developed, centred on the wishes of the individual applicant, rather than on intensive analysis by doctors and lawyers’.

You can read the Women and Equalities Committee's full report into transgender equality here: http://goo.gl/i8ZdCZ

You can follow the Women and Equalities Committee on Twitter: @Commonswomequ #transinquiry

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions

Update on progress of the Women & Equalities Committee report on transgender equality

We wrote to you to let you know about the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee report which quoted this petition and made the following related recommendation:

"Within the current Parliament, the Government must bring forward proposals to update the Gender Recognition Act, in line with the principles of gender self-declaration that have been developed in other jurisdictions. In place of the present medicalised, quasi-judicial application process, an administrative process must be developed, centred on the wishes of the individual applicant, rather than on intensive analysis by doctors and lawyers."

You can read the Committee's full report on its website: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmwomeq/390/390.pdf

We thought you may be interested to know what the next steps are and what is currently happening.

Normally, the Government responds to House of Commons Committee reports and its specific recommendations within two months. The response will say whether they agree or disagree with the recommendations and, if it agrees, how it plans to implement the recommendations.

The Women and Equalities Committee is still awaiting this Government response and recently asked the Government when it will arrive. The reply from Nicky Morgan MP, the Government Minister for Women and Equalities reads:

"I am writing to let you know that there will be a delay in publishing the Government’s response to your committee’s report on transgender equality.

As I mentioned at the Women and Equalities OPQs on 14 March, the Government welcomed your report and is studying the recommendations in detail. However, this process is taking time. Your report called for very significant changes to the legislative framework around gender recognition, as well as significant reforms of NHS and other public service processes, covering around a dozen different public bodies in total. We are looking through these carefully, but we are not yet in a position to issue a substantive response on all of them.

I understand that you were hoping to see the Government’s response immediately after the Easter recess. Unfortunately, we need more time to ensure the best possible response to your report overall. But I will keep you informed of progress and let you know the publication date in good time."

You can also view the reply on the Committee's website: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/women-and-equalities/Correspondence/Response-to-trans-enquiry.pdf

We will keep you informed and let you know when the response has been received and what it says relating to the above recommendation.

The Women and Equalities Committee is a cross-party group of MPs responsible for examining the expenditure, administration and policy of the Government Equalities Office (GEO). You can find out more about the role of the Committee on its website: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/role/

You can follow the Women and Equalities Committee on Twitter: @Commonswomequ #transinquiry

This email has been sent by the House of Commons Petitions Committee. You can find out more about the work of the Petitions Committee on its website here: www.parliament.uk/petitions-committee

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions

There are other ways you can get involved in the work of the UK Parliament.

Find out how to contact your MP or a Lord, contribute to Parliamentary Committees, and search for free Parliament events taking place in your local area here: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/

Find out how you can visit Parliament: http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/

Government responds to Women and Equalities report on transgender equality

We wrote to you to let you know about the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee report which quoted this petition and made the following related recommendation:
 
"Within the current Parliament, the Government must bring forward proposals to update the Gender Recognition Act, in line with the principles of gender self-declaration that have been developed in other jurisdictions. In place of the present medicalised, quasi-judicial application process, an administrative process must be developed, centred on the wishes of the individual applicant, rather than on intensive analysis by doctors and lawyers."
 
You can read the Committee's full report on its website: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmwomeq/390/390.pdf
 
The Government has now responded to the report. In response to the above recommendation, it says:
 
"We are grateful for the Committee’s detailed considerations and views on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in relation to the needs of non-binary people, the principles of gender self-declaration, converting the application process to an administrative process, and to extending legal gender recognition to transgender people aged 16-17, and possibly to children under 16.
 
In line with Government’s commitment to furthering transgender equality, we will keep these issues under consideration. The Government will review the Gender
Recognition Act to determine whether changes can be made to improve it in order to streamline and de-medicalise the gender recognition process.
 
However, we share the Committee’s concerns in respect of age. We would like to see more evidence on the case for change and the implications of altering the minimum age, moving to a self-declaration process and extending legal recognition to non-binary gender identities. We will therefore monitor the implementation of alternative gender recognition processes in other jurisdictions and we will analyse the evidence placed before the Committee to inform our work."
 
You can read the Government's response in full on its website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transgender-equality-report-government-response
 
The Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Millar MP said about the Government's response:
 
"Progress on a new trans equality action plan and a review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 will be very welcome, and we are glad to see that the Government is considering many of our other recommendations. However, we made these back in January, and would have hoped for more substantial progress during the past 6 months. Although the response makes some good future commitments, it’s a bit thin on action taken so far. Overall, the Committee shares the disappointment expressed by many in the trans community at the contents of the response.
 
It is particularly disappointing to find that there is no intention to change the confusing and inadequate language in the Equality Act 2010.
 
We will consider the Government’s proposals for further action carefully, and we look forward to more detailed discussions with Ministers and officials soon."
 
What will happen now:
 
After the Government responds to a Committee report, it’s up to the Committee to decide what action it wants to take. For example, Committees can take action to try to:
 
· Promote its report in Parliament and across the UK to increase pressure on the Government to take action e.g. by seeking a debate in the House of Commons, working with stakeholder groups, or media campaigns;
· Follow up to make sure the Government does what it promised to do e.g. by inviting Ministers to give further evidence or asking Parliamentary Questions
· Continue to review the Government’s work on the issue e.g. by issuing follow-up reports.
 
We will let you know what the Women and Equalities Committee decide to do next.
 
What is the Women and Equalities Committee?
 
The Women and Equalities Committee looks at how the Government Equalities Office:
 
· is run
· spends money
· decides on its policies
 
It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.
 
You can follow the Women and Equalities Committee on Twitter: @Commonswomequ #transinquiry
 
You can find out more about the Women and Equalities Committee on its website: www.parliament.uk/womenandequalities