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Your rights

a trans woman

As a trans woman your rights are sure to be especially important to you. Find out how the law can help you to be treated fairly.

  1. Legal gender
  2. Equality
  3. Discrimination and stigma

Legal gender

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 have 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 father of your children will not change and neither will your rights and responsibilities. Your childrens’ 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 like inheritance, interpretation of wills and benefits.


More information on Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC):

You can find our more in this guide to the GRC on the Government's Justice website, and on the GIRES website's page about the GRA.

Or you can complete the GRC form online.

Equality

Transsexual people are protected by law from discrimination and harassment under the Equality Act 2010. Previously trans people were protected under various different laws - the new Act brings these together under one piece of legislation.

Under the Act, there are nine protected characteristics – gender reassignment is one of them. This means that you're protected from discrimination and harassment if you're planning to have gender reassignment surgery, if you've had it or if you're currently going through it. Other trans women aren't directly protected under the Act, unless someone discriminates against them because they perceive them to be in the above category.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission sets out how you're protected from discrimination in various aspects of life as a transsexual person – for example when using health services and at work.


More information on how the Equality Act 2010 protects trans people:

You can read more about the Equality Act 2010 in this Home Office publication, or visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission website for more information.


What if I've been discriminated against?

Equality and Human Rights Commission
If you feel you've been discriminated against, you can get advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Their helpline is available on 0808 800 0082 and is open Monday to Friday from 9am–8pm and Saturdays between 10am-2pm.

Press For Change
The Press For Change organisation runs a service called Trans Equality  which provides telephone and email legal advice on equality and human rights laws.

You can contact the helpline on 08448 708 165 on Mondays to Wednesdays from 10am-4:30pm, and on Thursdays from 9.30am-5pm.

You can also email them at: office@pfc.org.uk

They also provide information on trans people’s rights in the law.

Discrimination and stigma

Many trans women do not experience discrimination or stigma; but if you do, you're protected by the law. Discrimination is when you're treated differently or unpleasantly because you're a trans person. For example, if you apply for a job and you're turned down because you're a trans woman, this is discrimination and is illegal.

Some forms of stigma and discrimination are less easy to take action against. Discrimination can range from being addressed with the wrong pronoun to being laughed at in the street or being called names. Things like this can be intimidating, upsetting and hurtful and it can be hard to know how to react.

Here are some tips that other trans women have found useful when dealing with this kind of situation:

  • Challenging the person who is discriminating against you.
  • Ignoring the comments and walking away – especially if you think retaliating could compromise your safety. 
  • Finding ways to cope with the way stigma makes you feel. This could be through writing a journal, learning yoga or meditation or finding a hobby you enjoy.

I've been the victim of a transphobic crime

If you've been the victim of a transphobic crime, many police stations will have a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) liaison officer who you may prefer to talk to about what has happened. Police forces take transphobic crime seriously – if you search online for ‘LGBT police liaison officer’ and ‘your local area’ you should find a list of your local contacts.

Here is some information about how to report transophobic crime in London.

If you're in immediate danger call 999.


Other organisations that will support you:

GALOP and Gendered Intelligence Youth Group have produced an interactive online zine addressing some of the issues around taking action against transphobia.

GIRES provide a service where you can report a transphobic crime which they will collate into a report with anonymous details.

You can send in your report to GIRES here.

Transphobia is illegal – it's hate crime, do try to get support and report it.

 

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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 23/3/2015 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 23/3/2018

Content Author:

Current Owner:

More information:

Changes to the Gender Recognition Act by Same Sex Marriage Bill, GIRES, 2015

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, legislation.gov.uk, 2013

HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Explanatory leaflet. A guide for users. Gender Recognition Act 2004. Updated April 2007

Gires (Gender Identity Research and Education Society). United Kingdom Gender Recognition Act. 2012 

HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Explanatory leaflet. A guide for users. Gender Recognition Act 2004 Updated April 2007

Gender Recognition Panel. Gender Recognition Certificate application form. September 2007

Gires. A Guide to Trans Service User’s Rights. Transgender Wellbeing and Healthcare. 

Government Equalities Office. Equality and Diversity Forum. Equality Act 2010: What do I need to Know? A Quick start guide to gender reassignment for voluntary and community organisations in the provision of goods and services. 2010

Equality and Human Rights Commission. Protected characteristics: definitions.

Equality and Human Rights Commission. Interviews, meetings and tests. What mustn’t I ask an applicant?

Equality and Human Rights Commission.Protected Characteristics: definitions (of the new Equality Act)

Metropolitan Police. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender borough liaison. 2012

T crime net. Gender Identity Research and Education Society (Gires). Transphobic crime reporting

NHS Choices. Your mental wellbeing. 27/5/11

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