Gender Recognition Certificate
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 created a process to enable transgender people to get their UK birth certificates and legal gender changed. The transgender person can apply to the Government’s Gender Recognition Panel for a Gender Recognition Certificate. If they are successful in their application, the law will recognise them as having all the rights and responsibilities appropriate to a person of their acquired gender. These could relate to matters such as your pension entitlements, your benefit entitlements or your marriage.
You are eligible to apply for Gender Recognition if you are:
- at least 18 years of age, and
- have lived in your acquired gender or have been recognised under the law of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom as having changed gender.
The application process further requires that you demonstrate that:
- You have, or have had, gender dysphoria; (you are required to provide two medical reports (one from a GP and one a Gender Specialist) confirming the diagnosis and detailing the transition-related medical treatment (psychological counselling, hormones and/or surgical procedures) you have received. If you have not undergone surgery, then one of the reports should indicate any surgery that you intend to have but are still waiting for. If you do not intend to have any surgery then one of the medical reports should explain why not.
- You have lived fully for the last two years in your acquired gender, and
- You intend to live permanently in your acquired gender (new gender).
There are other things to consider.
Where the applicant is married or in a civil partnership, the panel will not be able to issue a full GRC, though they may issue an interim Certificate. This is because unless the marriage or civil partnership is terminated, it has the effect of creating a same sex marriage or an opposite sex civil partnership, neither of which are currently permitted under UK law. For couples who do not wish to end their relationship, they need to first end their existing marriage or civil partnership, as appropriate, on the granting of the GRC. They can then opt to marry or enter a civil partnership as appropriate. These can be arranged to happen on the same day.
Application procedure (click on document title to access it)
Full information about the application procedures, detailed guidance on the legal effects of Gender Recognition, and application forms are available from the Gender Recognition Panel.
Website: Ministry of Justice, UK Gov
Useful links and documents regarding the Gender Recognition Certificate and the application process.
‘Name Changes on Personal Documents’ by Press for Change
Important Notes on the Gender Recognition Certificate
The GRC is a personal document for the transgender person and is not a proof of transgender status and should never be asked for as such. Some organisations may mistakenly believe that they are not supposed to change their records to show your new name and appropriate title (Mr, Miss, etc.) until you have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate. This is incorrect and in most cases would constitute discrimination.
Nobody is entitled to see or record the details of a Gender Recognition Certificate if you have one. If someone requires proof of your legal gender then you could show them your birth certificate. The Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) exists only for the Gender Recognition Panel to instruct the Registrar of Births to make a new entry in their register, from which a birth certificate can be drawn. The document states clearly that it has no other purpose.
Recording sight of a GRC would automatically lead to a breach of Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act, since sight of the record by any other person would constitute an unlawful disclosure of protected information.
Officials should therefore be gently advised against making up rules involving GRCs.
For more information on Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act and your right to privacy, please click here to link to the relevant information on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.