The government equalities office has launched a consultation on making the process which allows a person to change their legally recognised gender (by the issue of a gender recognition certificate) easier for those in England and Wales. A consultation has already been held in Scotland.
The current position
Currently, the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (Act) provides that a person may change their legally recognised gender and obtain a new birth certificate issued in the gender in which they identify. Without going through this official process a trans person cannot acquire legal recognition for the gender they identify with. They may therefore be living in one gender and hold some official documents in that gender but, have a birth certificate and legal status in another.
Since the Act came into force, only just under 5,000 people have used the process to acquire a gender recognition certificate. This is despite the government’s estimate that there are between 200,000 and 500,000 trans people in the UK. A recent survey of LGBT people conducted by the government suggested people regarded the current system as intrusive, costly and humiliating.
The consultation seeks views on whether the Act should continue to require:
- a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria
- a report of the treatment received by the applicant
- evidence that the person has been living in their chosen gender for at least two years
- where applicable, the consent of the applicant’s spouse
- an application fee of £140
- a signed, statutory declaration that the applicant intends to live in their acquired gender until death
The consultation is also looking at whether the current privacy and disclosure provisions of the Act are adequate.
In addition, the consultation seeks views on whether the Act should be amended to accommodate those who identify as “non-binary” (neither exclusively male or female). The GEO intends to issue a call for evidence about non-binary gender issues in the future.
The consultation closes on 19 October 2018.