Government launches unified online portal for gender-recognition applications
Service was ‘developed and tested with trans people’ to help reduce administrative burden of gaining legal recognition of gender
The government has unveiled a new centralised online portal intended through which citizens can apply for a gender recognition certificate (GRC).
The launch of the new service comes on the back of a public consultation that took place last year and concluded that the existing process through which trans people can achieve legal recognition of their gender was “burdensome and unaffordable”.
The fee for making a GRC application was reduced from £140 to £5 in May 2021, which the government claims “has helped an increased number of people apply.”
The process itself will now also be less onerous, the government said, after “all aspects of the GRC application [were] moved onto one GOV.UK portal, removing the administrative burden on individuals and centralising the process”.
The new digital platform, unveiled this week, was “carefully developed and rigorously tested with trans people” to make sure it met their needs and addressed the challenges identified in the consultation. Online guidance has also been simplified with the aim of making the service users’ experience “more transparent and less bureaucratic”.
To make an application, citizens require documents such as birth or adoption certificates, any documentation that reflects a change in name, and, if applicable, marriage documentation or records of an acquired gender status recognised in another country.
Those applying for such recognition to be granted for the first time must provide medical records evidencing a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and containing information of any surgeries or other treatments that have been undertaken since then. Evidence is also required of having lived in their gender for the prior two years. GRCs are currently only offered in recognition of male or female gender, with no legal provisions currently provided for non-binary or other identities outside of the gender binary.
For those without the access of skills to use digital platforms, a paper-based GRC process will still be on offer.
Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch said: “We want transgender people to be free to live and to prosper in modern Britain. Those that responded to the Gender Recognition Act consultation asked for a simplified and centralised process, which is why I am delighted to launch this improved service today. This government will continue to prioritise initiatives that can improve the lives of LGBT people across the country.”
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