Having your true gender legally recognised in the UK is a stressful process, but sources from the government have hinted at it becoming slightly easier, at least financially.
The current process and cost
Last September, MP Elizabeth Truss, from the Government Equalities Office, issued a written statement to the parliament outlining potential changes that could be made to the existing Gender Recognition Act. Her plans were based off of a 2017 survey that had over 108,000 respondents from the LGBTQIA+ community. According to the responses from the survey, the current process to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) was actually hindering many individuals from making theirtrue gender official.
Thirty-eight per cent told us the process was too bureaucratic. So we will place the whole procedure online. Thirty-four per cent said the process was too expensive. This, too, we will address. We will reduce the fee from £140 to a nominal amount.
According to BBC, a source from the government has revealed that the prices could be as low as £5, and the changes might be implemented in May.
A spokesperson from the Equalities Office said:
The government is committed to making the process of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate as straightforward and dignified as possible.
We are progressing work at speed to simplify this process as well as reducing the fee and further details will be available imminently.
However, members of the community say that the fee change might not make a drastic difference. The 2017 survey revealed that the waiting lists at NHS gender dysphoria clinicsare far too long, making it even harder to have the necessary medical requirements to get the GRC. In her written statement, Truss said that at least three new clinics are expected to open within the year. She stated:
That is why we are opening at least three new gender clinics this year, which should see waiting lists cut by around 1,600 patients by 2022. The full benefit of the increases in clinical capacity that we’ve been able to secure will lead to greater patient choice, shorter waiting times, better geographical coverage and easier access. It will also make it easier to fulfil the medical requirements of obtaining a GRC.