Gender recognition certificate fee cut from £140 to £5
Application cost cut comes after ministers decided against self-identification plan
The cost of applying for a gender recognition certificate has been cut from £140 to £5 as part of changes the government says will make applying for one “simpler and much more affordable”.
The move comes after ministers decided last September against wider changes to gender recognition rules that would have allowed people to change their gender legally without a medical diagnosis. LGBTQ+ campaigners decried that decision, with the charity Stonewall calling it “a shocking failure in leadership”.
The fee reduction is part of a compromise put forward by the women and equalities minister, Liz Truss, to make the application for a gender recognition certificate “kinder and more straightforward”.
Announcing the new fee, she said: “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 is also set to be moved online, but the details have yet to be announced.
Under the existing Gender Recognition Act, a transgender person has to undergo a two-year waiting period, a review or appearance before a specialist panel as well as paying £140, before being able to change their gender legally.
Campaigners have called for this system to be replaced with a simpler statutory declaration and self-identification.
Eloise Stonborough, associate director of policy and research at Stonewall, said the reduced fee was a “small step in the right direction”, but added the new fee would still be a barrier for some trans people.
She added: “It’s also important that the UK government sets out a clear timeline of the further changes to streamline the application process, and move it online.
“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.”