Policy actions  1 of 3

Understanding gender identity and reassignment

Scottish Transgender Alliance's Equal Recognition campaign

In summer 2014 the Scottish Transgender Alliance (STA) set out its campaign for equal recognition, which calls for:

  • the process for getting legal gender recognition to be simplified
    • a reduction in the age at which applications for gender recognition can be made
    • the introduction of legal recognition for people who do not identify as male or female (non-binary)

We are giving careful consideration to the issues raised as part of the Equal Recognition Campaign.

Any changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 would require both primary legislation and full consultation beforehand.

Intersex equality

Intersex people are born with variations to their chromosomal composition, reproductive system or genitals that mean they are neither clearly male nor female.

Intersex people face some similar equality issues to trans people, but they also face specific intersex-related equality and human rights concerns.

In April 2014 we added intersex equality to our approach to sexual orientation and gender equality.

Gender identity/reassignment

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there's a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.

Gender reassignment is the process where a person's identity is brought closer into alignment with the gender with which they identify (their acquired gender).

Transgender people can get full legal recognistion of their acquired gender by applying for a full gender recognition certificate.

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection to transgender people who are proposing to undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone part of a gender reassignment process.

Increasing understanding about gender identity/reassignment in the Scottish Government

One of our equality outcomes has a focus on transgender equality: 'to work with the Scottish Transgender Alliance (STA) to increase the level of understanding of issues of gender identity/reassignment as it relates to relevant policy areas – to have a programme outlined by the end of 2013 with implementation through to 2017.'

We held six transgender awareness sessions between May and June 2014. They were tailored for different policy areas: public finance, business and enterprise, health and social care, housing and sport, justice, education, children and families, equality, human rights and third sector.

The aim of the sessions was to promote in-depth discussion of the transgender issues that are particularly relevant to each policy area.

In December 2015 we carried out a survey to measure the sessions' impact and in April 2016 we held two focus groups to find out:

  • how participants were using their knowledge of transgender equality
    • what would help mainstream transgender equality across the Scottish Government

NHS Scotland's Gender Reassignment Protocol (GRP)

In July 2012 we approved the NHS Scotland Gender Reassignment Protocol (GRP) and sent it to NHS Boards for implementation.

The GRP applies to primary and secondary care services and sets out the gender reassignment treatment that transgender people in Scotland are entitled to.

Its purpose is to provide a clear and consistent treatment pathway that is fair, effective, patient-focused and timely.

The Scottish Transgender Alliance (STA) held focus groups across Scotland to identify transgender people's views on NHS gender reassignment services as part of the Scottish Government protocol audit.

These focus groups will inform a report to the Scottish Government on the implementation of the protocol and the improvements still needed.

The results of the STA's Trans Mental Health Study and Scottish Trans Health Conference Report have been used in training for NHS staff and to push, in particular, for better NHS gender reassignment services.