What you can do

Gender Recognition Act

The Gender Recognition Act – time to act now

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) is the law that governs how trans people can have their gender identity legally recognised – and so have the correct gender marked on their birth certificate.

But this law is out of date and in urgent need of reform.

The Government has pledged to launch a consultation on reforming the Act this summer. We now need to let our MPs know why this matters.

Download our guide on how to contact your MP. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure better rights for trans people in England and Wales. We can’t let anti-trans voices shout this down.

Contacting your MP is a simple and powerful way to Come Out For Trans Equality and anyone can do it. Our step-by-step guide will help you find out who your MP is, get in touch with them and to share the reasons why you care.

What to say to your MP

  • Find out who your MP is and send them a message
  • Use your own words and keep it short
  • Let your MP know you are a constituent and that you care about trans equality
  • Explain why trans rights matter to you – this might be your personal experience or that of a friend, family member or colleague
  • Explain that the current Gender Recognition Act needs reform and that the government have promised to reform it
  • Ask your MP to call on the government to launch a consultation into the reform urgently, so that people affected by the Act, and those who support them, can have their say
  • Thank your MP and ask them for a reply

Find more tips on what to say to your MP here.

Please let us know how you get on by emailing trans@stonewall.org.uk

What needs to change about the Gender Recognition Act?

The current process, under the GRA, means trans people have to go through a series of intrusive medical assessments and long, demeaning and bureaucratic interviews with psychiatrists in order to ‘prove’ their gender identity.

It requires trans people to have a formal diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’, to live in their ‘acquired gender’ for two years, and hand over evidence supporting all of this to a gender recognition panel (composed of clinicians who have never met the applicant) who have the power to approve, or deny, an application.

This recognition process is lengthy – and can take many years. The length of time and the number of professionals who need to be involved puts an unnecessary strain on our NHS. But more importantly, it means that trans people cannot determine their own personal identity.

People who are non-binary (they don’t identify as either male or female) don’t have any legal recognition at all under the current GRA. You also have to be 18 to get recognition of your gender identity under the current law.

In Scotland, gender recognition is a devolved matter. The Scottish Government has already held its own consultation, which you can read about here. All the more reason for the UK Government to launch their consultation without delay. Gender recognition is not devolved in Wales.

Stonewall supports a reformed Gender Recognition Act that:

  • Requires no medical diagnosis or presentation of evidence for trans people to get their identity legally recognised
  • Recognises non-binary identities
  • Gives all trans people, including 16 - 17 year-olds, the right to self-determination, through a much simpler and more streamlined administrative process.

Read more on Stonewall’s position in our plan for trans equality – ‘A Vision for Change’.

The truth about trans

It’s fine if you don’t feel like you know very much about trans people. Lots of people don’t.

But it’s important to know that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions that are repeated over and over again in the media, which makes it harder to get to the truth on some of these issues.

Now is the time to learn more, stop listening to scaremongers, and start having real, honest, respectful conversations.

We’ve developed this Q&A to answer some of the common questions that get asked about trans people, and to tackle some of those myths and misconceptions you might have seen in the media. We hope this will help.

Read common questions about trans people, their experiences and myths and misconceptions from the media

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