Your guide to the Gender Recognition Act consultation

Gender Recognition Act

Friday, October 12, 2018

The government is currently holding an online consultation on the Gender Recognition Act - but what is it all about?

The Gender Recognition Act (GRA) was introduced in 2004 and allows transgender people over the age of 18 to get legal recognition of their gender identity as well as receiving a new birth certificate in their chosen gender.

Currently only people who have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and are able to provide a medical report on any surgeries or treatments they have had - as well as proof they have been living as their chosen gender for at least two years - can obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate.



Once the certificate has been issued, the individual will be considered in the eyes of the law to have the gender they identify with, rather than the gender that was recorded at birth.

The government is now looking to reform the GRA, and a public consultation is currently underway exploring how the process can be made easier.

The consultation will also ask about the legal recognition of non-binary people, who do not identify exclusively as male or female, as well as people born intersex, meaning they have sex characteristics of both males and females.

The consultation began on July 3, and will close on October 19 this year.


Criticism of Gender Recognition Act

The GRA has been criticised by some as being intrusive and expensive; it costs £140 to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Since the GRA was introduced, 4,910 people have successfully acquired a Gender Recognition Certificate, a figure that is far fewer than the estimated size of the trans population in the UK.

The GRA doesn't currently take into consideration people who have non-binary identities or members of the intersex community.


Opposition to reforms

Transgender campaigner and physics teacher, Debbie Hayton, told talkRADIO she thought making the process easier could open it up to "misuse" and risk its "credibility".

"Effectively what the government is saying is we can change our legal sex just on our say so, no evidence needed at all," she said.



Women's rights group, Fair Play for Women, has been vocal in opposing GRA reform, and paid for a full-page advertisement in the daily London-distributed newspaper Metro to promote their views on the consultation.

The group claim that women's rights could be at risk if people who are born male can more easily become legally recognised as a woman.



LGBT+ rights charity Stonewall has launched a campaign calling for certain amendments to the Gender Recognition Act.

Its 'Come Out for Trans Equality' campaign wants the GRA to eliminate the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, recognise non-binary identities and allow 16 and 17-year-olds the right to legal recognition of their gender identity.

The charity - which began campaigning for trans rights in 2015 - has previously been accused of "backing transgender bullies".

In a letter published in the Times, lesbian, gay, intersex and trans campaigners said the charity was ignoring the voices of LGBT people who opposed transgender activists using "hostile tactics" to promote their cause.