James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Gender change certificate fee slashed to £5 to 'remove barrier'
4 May 2021, 08:51
The fee for changing a person's legal gender will be reduced to £5 after complaints about the previous three-figure sum.
Equalities minister Liz Truss pledged to improve the process for applying for a gender recognition certificate, and reducing the fee from £140 will make the process more affordable for transgender people.
The Government previously decided against wider reforms but Ms Truss said: "As we build back better, we want transgender people to be free to live and to prosper in modern Britain.
"In the National LGBT Survey, 34% of transgender people told us that the cost of applying for a certificate was holding them back from doing so.
"Today we have removed that barrier, and I am proud that we have made the process of getting a certificate fairer, simpler and much more affordable."
The application process will be moved online to make it easier for users.
However, LGBT campaigners believe the route a transgender person has to take before their gender is recognised legally needs to be simpler.
The Gender Recognition Act requires people to wait two years and undergo a review or appearance before a specialist panel.
Ms Truss said in September that calls for people to be able to instead self-identify their gender and change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis had been rejected.
Eloise Stonborough, associate director of policy and research at LGBT charity Stonewall, said the fee change was "a small step in the right direction" but the fact there is still a price is a "barrier for some trans people".
"All trans people deserve to be respected for who they are. Westminster's failure to introduced a streamlined and de-medicalised gender recognition system based on self-determination, which includes non-binary people, continues to be a hurdle in progressing LGBT+ equality across the UK," she added.