Government reforms (2): Trans-forming the workplace

transgenderWhat do we already know?

We updated you in our blog Trans-forming the workplace by Anne-Marie Boyle that in January 2016, the Women and Equalities Commons Select Committee published its first report on transgender equality.

The report made over 30 recommendations in a wide range of policy areas and called on the Government to take action to ensure full equality for trans people and emphasised the need to update legislation, provide better services and improve confidence in the criminal justice system.

We also updated you in this blog and our December 2015 Newsletter Guidance – Transgender employees on the Government’s guidance, available here, to help employers deal with the recruitment and retention of transgender employees and to raise awareness of trans issues.

What’s new?

On 7 July 2016, the Government published its response to the Women and Equalities Commons Select Committee report on transgender equality, available here.

The response states that the Government intends to review the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA 2004) in order to see whether improvements can be made to streamline and de-medicalise the gender recognition process, and it will also go ahead with the select committee’s recommendations to move towards “non-gendering” official records where possible.

The response also outlines some further positive steps that the Government will take towards transgender equality, including:

  • a cross-Government review on removing unnecessary requests for gender information, including within official documents such as passports;
  • confirmation that gender dysphoria is not a mental illness, and that transgender people will receive support from gender identity services and improved training for NHS staff;
  • tackling harassment and bullying in higher education system, from secondary schools upwards;
  • an assessment of the size of the UK’s transgender population so future policy can be more evidence-based; and
  • measuring and monitoring public attitudes towards transgender people.

However, the Government’s response indicates it will not fully address all of the concerns highlighted in the report.  For example, the Government has decided not to adopt the select committee’s recommendations to rename the protected characteristic of “gender reassignment” in the Equality Act 2010 as “gender identity” or to dis-apply the occupational requirement exceptions in the Act where an individual’s acquired gender has been recognised under the GRA 2004.