Proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act – dxw’s response

We’re a proudly inclusive organisation, we value people and want them to feel free to be themselves

dxw strives to be an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community and the movement towards equality for all marginalised people. We’re a proudly inclusive organisation, we value people and want them to feel free to be themselves.

We’re learning all the time about the things we can do to support our trans colleagues and are committed to working with the public and third sectors to create inclusive services that work for everyone. Trans rights are human rights.

The Gender Recognition Act

With a deadline of Friday 27 November, the Women and Equalities Select Committee is asking for evidence as they consider reforms to the Gender Recognition Act of 2004. The Act provides a framework that allows trans people in the UK to update their birth certificates to list their new name and gender, via a Gender Recognition Certificate.

The Gender Recognition Act impacts on things like being known as your gender when you get married or when you die. It’s separate to the Equality Act which protects people’s rights to update their ID, passport, bank account, to be legally protected as female, and to use gendered facilities.

The Gender Recognition Act doesn’t give people the right to self-determination, but leaves that determination up to a committee and requires, among other things, evidence from medical professionals and approval from a spouse. For many trans people, the process required to have their identity recognised presents a barrier to being accepted for who they are. It often takes years from someone realising they’re trans, to having that formally recognised.

In an earlier government consultation, the majority of respondents supported significant reform of the Act. The Government’s proposed reforms are, however, limited to putting the application process online on GOV.UK, reducing the fee, and opening 3 more Gender Identity Clinics.

While this will reduce barriers to entry and allow trans people to receive support sooner, there are no proposals to change the process itself.

Good service design and being inclusive

At dxw, we pride ourselves on building services which meet the Government Service Standard, services which work for everyone who needs to use them. We’ve responded to the call for evidence from our position as designers of inclusive services, and some of our trans colleagues have also done so by sharing their personal experiences.

We’ve raised a number of issues relating to whether the Act and the proposed reforms meet the Government’s own standards. As required by the select committee, we will publish our response once the call for evidence has closed and the committee has published its findings.