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Employment Law

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Veale Wasborough Vizards , 26 JAN 2016

First report on transgender equality is published

First report on transgender equality is published
Bettina Rigg
Partner, Veale Wasbrough Vizards

The Women and Equalities Committee has published a report on transgender equality. The report makes a number of recommendations in relation to the existing Equality Act 2010 transgender provisions which are currently seen as outdated and, at times, confusing.

The report raises concerns about whether the current provisions of the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) adequately protect transgender (or 'trans') people from discrimination in employment and other aspects of their lives.

The report notes that the use of the terms 'gender reassignment' and 'transsexual' persons are now regarded as outdated and confusing.

At present, there is widespread confusion as to what proof is actually required in order to obtain protection under the Act. A common misapprehension is that protection is only afforded to those whose transition involves medical gender reassignment treatment, or those who have been granted a Gender Recognition Certificate. In fact, the Act also applies to those whose reassignment is purely a 'social process'.

The Committee's specific recommendations in relation to these concerns include:

  • amending the protected characteristic under the Act to that of 'gender identity' to include those falling within the broader definition of trans identity; and
  • basing the official recognition of gender on 'self-declaration' as opposed to a medical assessment.
Best practice

The law protecting trans people is undergoing increasing scrutiny as campaigners seek to raise awareness and promote equality in the area. Employers must be alive to these changes to ensure they avoid potential discrimination. We will report further on any proposed changes to the equality legislation in due course.


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