The Gender Recognition Act 2004 enables trans people to have their gender legally recognised with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). In order to get a GRC, trans people must have been diagnosed with persistent gender dysphoria. They will also have to convince the panel that they intend to live in their ‘new’ gender for the rest of their lives.
A trans person doesn’t need to have undergone surgery to be awarded with a GRC, but applicants will have to provide details of any surgery they have had.
Since the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in 2014, there are changes to the way GRCs are awarded. If you're married, you no longer need an annulment in order to get a GRC. As long as your partner agrees to your application a married trans person can now remain in their marriage and be awarded a GRC. If your spouse does not consent to the marriage continuing after a GRC has been awarded this known as spousal veto. In this situation, you can get an interim GRC but not a full one unless the marriage is annulled.
If you're in a civil partnership, both parties would have to be transitioning before either of them could get a GRC. This is because civil partnerships are only for same-sex couples. If only one of you is transitioning you would need to convert your civil partnership to marriage and then apply for a GRC.
Since this area of the law is complex, please visit GIRES to read more.
If your birth was registered in the UK, your GRC can be used to get a new birth certificate.
If you have children and apply for a GRC, your status as the parent of your children will not change and neither will your rights and responsibilities. Your children’s birth certificates will not be changed once you have a GRC.
If you're planning to apply for a GRC it's worth getting advice beforehand as it can affect things such as inheritance, interpretation of wills and benefits. You can find our more in this guide.
You can also find out more from GIRES.
*Please note that this section is currently being reviewed and might not be up to date.