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Mermaids Press

There’s been a lot going on with legal gender recognition reform over the past weeks. We know this has left many trans young people and their families feeling worried about the implications of the recent statement made by Kemi Badenoch, Minister for Women and Equalities, as well as reports that the UK Government may block Scottish gender recognition reform. 

Here we answer some of the most pressing questions raised by our community: 

What changes have been announced to the UK’s Gender Recognition Act (2004)?

The UK Government has announced its intention to update the list of countries whose Gender Recognition Certificates (GRC) they recognise, potentially removing countries like Australia, Canada and Uruguay, which all have policies of legal gender self-determination. The new list has yet to be announced.

How will this affect trans people from other countries living in the UK?

Under the current system, a person with a GRC from a country on the “approved list” seeking legal gender recognition in the UK can apply via a “fast-track” system, meaning they do not need to provide the same extensive medical information as a UK citizen. If their country is not on the list, they would have to undergo the UK gender recognition process to change their legal gender in the UK (e.g. for marriage or death certificates).

Does possession of a Gender Recognition Certificate impact my ability to access single sex spaces?

No, this is determined by the Equality Act (2010). Trans people don’t need a GRC to be protected under the Equality Act.

Will the UK Government block the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) bill?

Reports in the media have suggested the UK Government may use their powers to block the Scottish GRR Bill. This Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament in December 2022, but the UK Government has until 19 January 2022 to block it from becoming law. 

What does Mermaids think of this?

The passing of the GRR Bill in Scotland was a huge win for trans people, especially in opening up the process to 16 and 17-year-olds. Never before has the UK Government blocked a law made by the Scottish Parliament, which we think demonstrates the lengths they will go to undermine the rights and dignity of trans people. 

What can I do?

Stonewall has created a tool to write to your MP asking them to oppose the UK Government’s attempts to restrict the rights of trans people further. 

If you find this news distressing and would like some support, do call our helpline on 0808 801 0400.