Changing Your Legal Gender Is About To Become A Lot Simpler In The UK

24 July 2017, 12:15 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 14:16

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Woodrow Whyte

By Woodrow Whyte

It's about time tbh.

Do you know what the process is to the legally change gender? We're guessing that unless you're trans, you probably aren't aware of all the hoops that people have to jump through.

In the UK, to change your legal gender you have to apply to the Gender Recognition Panel for something called a 'Gender Recognition Certificate'. To get the certificate you must satisfy the following criteria: be 18 or over, diagnosed with gender dysphoria, lived in your acquired gender for at least 2 years and intend to live in your acquired gender for the rest of your life. Sounds like a long, daunting process, right?


There are several glaring problems with this; it takes far too long, there are too many bureaucratic hurdles and it doesn’t let trans people self-identify their own gender – you must be assessed by clinicians instead. These issues unnecessary create distress to those going through the process. Now, the UK government is considering plans to make the process of changing legal gender a lot easier.

Equalities minister Justine Greening confirmed that proposals to streamline and de-medicalise the process for changing gender will be part of a “broad consultation of the legal system that underpins gender transition, the Gender Recognition Act”. The consultation, which will be published in the Autumn, will look to improve the recognition process with proposals including removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and reducing the length and intrusiveness of the gender recognition system.


The announcement came days after opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party, called for an overhaul to the system. “The Gender Recognition Act does not allow trans people to self-identify their gender and forces them to undergo invasive medical tests. I believe that is wrong. We recognised that in our manifesto at the election, and we have pledged to update that act, and support any moves in this Parliament to ensure that act updated, in line with what we said at the election.”

Suzanna Hopwood, a member of the Stonewall Trans Advisory Group, said reform was a key priority for removing "huge inequalities" for trans people. "It's vital that this reform removes the requirements for medical evidence and an intrusive interview panel, and finally allows all trans people to have their gender legally recognised through a simple administrative process."

People should have to right to self-identify their gender and should not have to go through such an intrusive process. Let's hope this review results in a radically changed and improved system for changing legal gender.