UK Government to review process for trans people to legally change gender

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The British Government has announced a review of the way trans people are able to legally change their gender.

The review comes after long-time calls from the trans community to review and update the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

It was announced by Women and Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan today with an emphasis on moving the process away from medical checks.


The announcement today by Mrs Morgan said trans people can feel “like they are treated as if they have a mental illness”.

The review will look to remove unnecessary request for gender information in official documents and improve the support by gender identity services, including NHS staff training.

It will also look to stop harassment and bullying in higher education through working with universities.

A study will look to better collect information about issues faced by trans people including looking at the number of the transgender population in the UK.

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 That’s why I am delighted to announce that we will be reviewing the Gender Recognition Act – helping overturn an outdated system and ensure the transgender person’s needs are at the heart of the process.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 added: “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.”

Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee, chaired by Conservative MP Maria Miller,released a landmark report on trans issues in January.

The committee warned that the NHS is currently in violation of the law due to extensive waiting times for transgender services, and also found that the current process of gender recognition is not fit for purpose.

Today’s response was delayed from May this year. The government said it was still “weighing up” the proposals – and in a release just before the election last week.