The Equality Act 2010

Gender Reassignment as a Projected Characteristic

Gender reassignment is a personal process (rather than a medical process) which involves a person expressing their gender in a way that differs from or is inconsistent with the physical sex they were born with. This personal process may include undergoing medical procedures or, as is more likely for school pupils, it may simply include choosing to dress in a different way as part of the personal process of change.


A person will be protected because of gender reassignment where they:

  • make their intention known to someone – it does not matter who this is, whether it is someone at school or at home or someone like a doctor:
    • once they have proposed to undergo gender reassignment they are protected, even if they take no further steps or they decide to stop later on
    • they do not have to have reached an irrevocable decision that they will undergo gender reassignment, but as soon as there is a manifestation of this intention they are protected  
  • start or continue to dress, behave or live (full-time or part-time) according to the gender they identify with as a person 
  • undergo treatment related to gender reassignment, such as surgery or hormone therapy, or 
  • have received gender recognition under the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

It does not matter which of these applies to a person for them to be protected because of the characteristic of gender reassignment.This guidance uses the term ‘transsexual person’ to refer to someone who has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.


Trans people often experience discrimination - some of this discrimination is unlawful and covered by equality legislation.  Trans (or Transgender) is an umbrella term used by people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from their birth sex. The term includes, but is not limited to, transsexual people and others who define as gender-variant.  Trans people may or may not choose to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.  Known as gender reassignment or transition this is usually a complex process that takes place over a long period of time.

More information can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.