gender recognition act 2007 united kingdom only
trans gender recognition
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Explanatory leafletAguide for usersGender Recognition Act 2004 Updated April 2007The purpose of this guidance is to help potential applicants to make informeddecisions about whether they wish to apply for gender recognition. It contains:•An introduction to the Gender Recognition process•An explanation of the words used in this guidance and the application pack•Information on what obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate will mean forvarious aspects of a person’s life•Details of the criteria that must be satisfied for gender recognition to be granted•An explanation of the process for applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate•Contact details for further advice or assistance
1.IntroductionUnder the laws of the United Kingdom, individuals are generally considered by theState to be of the gender – either male or female – that is registered on their birthcertificates (although the position under European Community law can be morecomplicated). The Gender Recognition Act 2004 enables transsexual people to applyto the Gender Recognition Panel to receive a Gender Recognition Certificate.Successful applicants, who are granted a full Gender Recognition Certificate, will,from the date of issue, be considered in the eyes of the law to be of their acquiredgender. He or she is entitled to all the rights appropriate to a person of his or heracquired gender. This will include the right to marry someone of the opposite gender,or to form a civil partnership with someone of the same gender, and to retire andreceive state pension at the age appropriate to the acquired gender. A person whosebirth was registered in the United Kingdom will also be able to obtain a new BirthCertificate showing his or her recognised legal gender. This recognition extendsthroughout the United Kingdom.Amore detailed explanation of the consequences of obtaining a Gender RecognitionCertificate is contained later in this guidance. You should read the guidance verycarefully before applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate.When a full Gender Recognition Certificate has been issued to you, you are for allpurposes a person of your acquired gender. In some aspects of life, men and womenare treated differently by the State. You should remember that a change of legalgender may affect aspects of your life negatively.For example, you may find that youare entitled to fewer benefits or a smaller pension as a result of being recognised inyour acquired gender. The guidance below will explain some of the possibleconsequences, and the list of contacts at the end of this guidance gives details ofwhere further advice might be available. 2.Words and phrases used in this guidance andthe application pack2.1Transsexual peoplehave a deep conviction that their gender identity does notmatch their appearance and/or anatomy. The incongruity between identity andbody can be so strong that individuals are driven to presenting themselves inthe acquired (opposite) gender.This terminology is used for the purpose of theGender Recognition Act, but people in this position may refer to themselves as‘transgendered’ or in a number of other ways.2.2 Transsexual menare people who were registered at birth as female (or a girl)but now present to the world as male. Transsexual womenwere registered atbirth as male (or a boy) but now present as female.2.3 Gender dysphoriais a widely recognised medical condition variously referredto as gender dysphoria, gender identity disorder and transsexualism. It is adrive to live in the opposite gender to that in which a person has beenregistered at birth.2
2.4 Gender reassignment is a process which is undertaken under medicalsupervision for the purpose of reassigning a person’s sex by changingphysiological or other characteristics of sex. This may include counselling,hormone treatment or surgery.2.5 Acquired genderrefers to the gender in which a transsexual person lives andpresents to the world. This is not the gender that they were registered in atbirth, but it is the gender in which they should be treated.2.6 Gender Recognitionis the process whereby a transsexual person may applyfor legal recognition of his or her acquired gender. The process is establishedunder the Gender Recognition Act.2.7 The Gender Recognition Actis the legislation that allows transsexual peopleto gain legal recognition in the acquired gender. It governs various aspects ofthe process, including setting down the criteria for legal recognition. There is noneed for a potential applicant to be familiar with the Act itself.2.8 Legal recognition means that in the eyes of the law a person is seen to be ofhis or her acquired gender, as opposed to the gender that was registered onthat person’s birth record when he or she was born.2.9 ABirth Certificateis a copy or extract from the entry in a birth register madewhen a person’s birth is registered. It contains the facts of a person’s birth,including that person’s gender.2.10 A Gender Recognition Panel considers applications for gender recognition.The panels are ordinarily made up of legal and medical members who assesswhether the legal and medical criteria for legal recognition are met. If theapplicant is successful, the panel will issue a full or an interim GenderRecognition Certificate.2.11 A full Gender Recognition Certificate shows that a person has satisfied thecriteria for legal recognition in the acquired gender. It will be issued to asuccessful applicant if he or she is not married or in a civil partnership. Fromthe date of issue, the holder’s gender becomes the acquired gender for allpurposes.2.12 An interim Gender Recognition Certificatewill be issued to a successfulapplicant if he or she is married at the time of the application. The interimcertificate is issued to allow the applicant and his or her spouse to end theirmarriage easily. It has no legal significance beyond this use. When the marriageis ended, a full Gender Recognition Certificate will be issued to the successfulapplicant. 3
3.What obtaining a Gender RecognitionCertificate means for youThere are many implications of receiving official recognition in your new gender. Mostof these will be positive, since they will give a legal basis to the way that you havebeen living your life for some time – in your acquired gender. This will be the case forthe vast majority of transsexual people. Depending on your circumstances, however, there may be emotional and financialdisadvantages of obtaining legal recognition in your acquired gender. For example,there is a section below on marriage. If you are married, you will have to weigh upthe benefits of legal recognition in your acquired gender against the disadvantages ofending your marriage. You may decide that you do not wish to become legally recognised in your acquiredgender. Only you can make the decision about whether or not to make anapplication. You are not required to do so. However, there are many places to turn foradvice and support. A list of helpful contacts is provided in section 6 of thisdocument.3.1 Birth CertificatesBirth Certificates are legal documents and there are many reasons why a personcould be asked to produce one. However, prior to legal recognition, a transsexualperson’s Birth Certificate states the original gender. This can lead to questions beingasked, embarrassment or an unwelcome invasion of privacy.If you are successful in your application – and your birth was registered by the UK –the Gender Recognition Panel will notify the relevant Registrar General of the issue ofafull Gender Recognition Certificate. The Registrar General will then write to you and,where possible, will offer you options for the type of Birth Certificate available in youracquired gender. (You will still be able to obtain a birth certificate in your birth gendershould you need to do so). More information on what the Registrar General does canbefound at section 5.4.3.2 Marriage To receive a full Gender Recognition Certificate, a transsexual person must beunmarried and not in a civil partnership. This is because, under the laws of the UK, amarriage is only valid if it is contracted by two people of the opposite sex in law.Acivil partnership may only be registered between people of the same sex in law.So,for example, a male-to-female transsexual person who has not received legalrecognition as a woman remains in law male and may only marry a woman. She maynot marry a man. If you knowingly or unknowingly obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate whilst stillmarried or in a civil partnership, this will invalidate it and any rights or benefits youwould expect to receive in your acquired gender. 4
Some transsexual people are legally married to people of the opposite gender totheir birth gender (although after the transsexual person transitions, the couple maypresent as being of the same gender). These marriages are valid because until thetranssexual party receives legal recognition in the acquired gender, he or sheremains in law of their birth gender.Aholder of a full Gender Recognition Certificate has all the same rights as otherpeople of his or her acquired gender. This means that he or she may marry someoneof the opposite gender or register a civil partnership with a person of the samegender. For example, a male-to-female transsexual person may marry a man onceshe receives legal recognition of her acquired gender or register a civil partnershipwith a woman.The Gender Recognition process has been designed to make applications for legalrecognition from married people as straightforward as possible. If an applicantsatisfies all the criteria for legal recognition but remains married, he or she willreceive an interim Gender Recognition Certificate. This certificate is valid for a periodof six months from the date on which it is issued and may be used as evidence ifeither member of the couple chooses to end their marriage on the basis that aninterim Gender Recognition Certificate has been issued to a party to the marriage. InEngland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the marriage may be dissolved or annulled onthis ground. In Scotland, a decree of divorce may be granted on this ground. When ending a marriage, you must consider the effect on your financial resourcesand whether any provision needs to be made for children of the marriage. There isno suggestion that ending the marriage means that the couple should cease to livetogether,for example. It is merely a legal requirement for one member of thepartnership to be legally recognised in his or her acquired gender.Aseparate guidance note is available to assist married transsexual people, and if thisapplies to you it is essential that you read this before deciding whether to apply. Thedocument is available from the Gender Recognition Panel or online atwww.grp.gov.uk.If you and your partner are both transsexual and are considering applying for GenderRecognition Certificates, you may wish to apply at the same time. You should ensurethe Gender Recognition Panel is advised that you are doing so in order that bothapplications can be dealt with at the same time. Further guidance on this issue isavailable in the guidance for married people and, even if you are not married, youshould read the appropriate section of that guidance.3.3 ChildrenIf you have children, legal recognition in your acquired gender will not affect yourstatus as the father or mother of your children. Your rights and responsibilities as aparent of your child or children will be unaffected and their birth certificate(s) will notbealtered.5
3.4 Pensions and Retirement At present, women are entitled to retire, and receive state pension, aged 60. Menmust reach age 65. A holder of a full Gender Recognition Certificate has all the samerights as other people of his or her acquired gender. As a result you will be able toretire at the age appropriate to your gender. This will mean, of course, that until stateretirement is equalised, men will have to wait longer than women do to qualify forstate pension. There may also be an impact on war pensions. More detailedguidance on pension and retirement is available in a separate document Guidanceon Benefits and Pensions (‘Benefit Note’).3.5 Social Security benefitsThe potential impacts of a legal change of gender on Social Security benefits areoutlined in a separate document, Guidance on Benefits and Pensions (‘Benefit Note’).You are advised to read this information. It should help you to decide if a legalchange of gender will impact any Social Security benefits that you receive currentlyor at some point in the future. 3.6 InheritanceSome wills specify the gender of the beneficiary. For example, a will might say ‘myhouse should go to my eldest son’. If you would have inherited something except forthe fact that you have become legally recognised in your acquired gender, you maybeable to apply to the courts to have the will interpreted in light of the GenderRecognition Act. The same applies to other people whose entitlement under a willwas affected by your gender change. This is a complex area and if you think you arelikely to be affected by it you should seek the advice of a solicitor.The contacts list insection 6 may be helpful.3.7 PrivacyFor all sorts of reasons, you may not wish your gender history to be commonknowledge. The Gender Recognition Act safeguards the privacy of transsexualpeople by defining much information relating to the Gender Recognition process as‘protected information’. Anyone who acquires that information ‘in an official capacity’would be breaking the law if they disclosed it without your consent. Having said that,the Act does contain a series of exemptions that allow information to be disclosed forvalid public policy reasons without your consent, for example, for preventing orinvestigating crime.People who might gain protected information ‘in an official capacity’ include anyoneto whom you show your Gender Recognition Certificate to obtain the rights that areassociated with it. This might be someone at a building society or Jobcentre, or apotential employer. In addition, all the people who handle your application for genderrecognition are bound by law to respect your privacy and we will not disclose anyinformation about your application to third parties unless it is permitted under the Act.6
You should bear in mind that privacy does not mean absolute secrecy. There may besome situations in which you will be required by law or necessity to prove a linkbetween your current legal gender and your former one. Although the process seeks tosafeguard your privacy, you do not have a right never to disclose the fact that youobtained a Gender Recognition Certificate. However, the covering letter that you receivewith the full Certificate will enable you to do this easily should you ever need to.3.8 DiscriminationIt is already unlawful discrimination for an employer to treat a job applicant or anemployee less favourably on the ground that the employee intends to undergo, isundergoing or has undergone gender reassignment except in exceptionalcircumstances (such as where privacy and decency require it). Once a person has become the acquired gender under the provisions of the GenderRecognition Act, these circumstances no longer apply. Thereafter, an employer musttreat a transsexual woman with a Gender Recognition Certificate no less favourablythan their other female employees. 3.9 PaymentWhen you make an application to the Gender Recognition Panel, the Panel will needto carry out some work for which you may have to pay a one-off fee. There is a basicfee for applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Many people will pay this feebut some will not have to because, by law,they do not have to. Some may pay areduced fee because of their financial circumstances.Aseparate leaflet, Fees for Applying to the Gender Recognition Panel, is available andyou should read this to determine how much your application would cost, if anything.4.The criteria for Gender RecognitionAll applications for a Gender Recognition Certificate must be made using theapplication form that accompanies this guidance. The purpose of the applicationform is to enable you to demonstrate to the panel that you meet the criteria forGender Recognition. It also makes sure that the Gender Recognition Panel has all theinformation it needs to issue a Gender Recognition Certificate.There are two ways of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate, and the methodthat applies to you will depend on your circumstances. Details of how to prove thatyou satisfy the criteria are contained later in this guidance. Don’t worry if you cannotthink how you will satisfy the criteria; there are many helpful tips.Under all circumstances, an applicant must prove that he or she is 18 years old or more.7
An Application for a Gender Recognition Certificaterequires applicants todemonstrate that •They have been recognised in their acquired gender in a country or territorythat is on the list of approved systems that is held (and available from) theGender Recognition panel and its website.If your acquired gender has been recognised in another country and that country ison the list of ‘approved countries’, you should apply using the Overseas Recognitionprocess. If not, you will need to have lived in your acquired gender for a period oftwo years or more to be eligible to apply using the Application for a GenderRecognition Certificate route.Whichever application process is relevant to you, the procedure that you follow tomake your application will be the same. Details of the gender Recognition processare below.8
5.The application processBefore deciding whether to apply for Gender Recognition, you should read thisguidance thoroughly and think hard about the consequences of becomingrecognised in your acquired gender. If you decide to apply for a Gender RecognitionCertificate you will need to obtain a copy of the application pack.Application packs are available from www.clsdirect.org.uk17
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