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Trans women

A male-to-female (MTF) transsexual woman (trans woman) is someone who was labelled male at birth but has a female gender identity, and therefore transitions to live  as a woman. Transsexual women can be distinguished from other transgender people by their extremely strong need  to live completely and permanently as women in contrast to their original birth label of male.

Transsexual women seek to bring their physical bodies and gender expressions into better accordance with their strong gender identities so that their identities as women finally become clearly visible to their friends, families and colleagues. However, some may be restricted by their personal or social circumstances in their ability to achieve this.  Transsexual women often experience significant emotional distress, usually referred to as gender dysphoria, if unable to live fully as women.

The lengthy and difficult process which transsexual women go through in order to achieve this is called transitioning (or gender reassignment) and usually involves undergoing significant medical assistance in the form of hormones and sometimes various surgical procedures.  They may get this medical assistance from the National Health Service or from Private Healthcare Providers.  However, transitioning is not purely about changes in a person’s physical appearance.  During transition, social and personal relationship dynamics also change to better reflect the gender identity of the transsexual woman.  This can be both challenging and rewarding for the transsexual woman and her friends and family.

When these women complete their transitions, they may often no longer regard themselves as being under the transgender umbrella.  They might consider having been transsexual to just be an aspect of their medical history which has now been resolved and so is no longer an issue in their life.  Some women may use the phrase: women with transsexual backgrounds to describe themselves.  However, in the vast majority of circumstances they will most likely simply describe themselves as women and it is most disrespectful to insist on calling them trans, transgender or transsexual against their wishes.

Trans men

A female-to-male (FTM) transsexual man (trans man) is someone who was labelled female at birth but has a male gender identity, and therefore transitions to live  as a man. Transsexual men can be distinguished from other transgender people by the extremely strong need which they have to live completely and permanently as men in contrast to their original birth label of female.

Transsexual men seek to bring their physical bodies and gender expressions into better accordance with their strong gender identities so that their identities as men finally become clearly visible to their friends, families and colleagues. However, some may be restricted by their personal or social circumstances in their ability to achieve this.  Transsexual men often experience significant emotional distress, usually referred to as gender dysphoria, if unable to live fully as men.

The lengthy and difficult process which transsexual men go through in order to achieve this is called transitioning (or gender reassignment) and usually involves undergoing significant medical assistance in the form of hormones and sometimes various surgical procedures.  They may get this medical assistance from the National Health Service or from Private Healthcare Providers.  However, transitioning is not purely about changes in a person’s physical appearance.  During transition, social and personal relationship dynamics also change to better reflect the gender identity of the transsexual man.  This can be both challenging and rewarding for the transsexual man and his friends and family.

When these men complete their transitions, they may sometimes no longer regard themselves as being under the transgender umbrella.  They might consider having been transsexual to just be an aspect of their medical history which has now been resolved and so is no longer an issue in their life.  Some men will sometimes use the phrase: men with transsexual backgrounds to describe themselves.  However, in the vast majority of circumstances they will most likely simply describe themselves as men and it is most disrespectful to insist on calling them trans, transgender or transsexual against their wishes.

Resources

This page lists all the downloadable documents currently available on the site.

 

All Resources

This page lists all the downloadable documents currently available on the site.

About

The Scottish Trans Alliance project (Scottish Trans for short) has been funded by the Scottish Government Equality Unit since 2007.

STA Conference of the Isles group photo 2014We assist transgender people, service providers, employers and equality organisations to engage together to improve gender identity and gender reassignment equality, rights and inclusion in Scotland. We strive for everyone in Scotland to be safe and valued whatever their gender identity and gender reassignment status and to have full freedom in their gender expression.

We believe that it is in the interests of all gender diverse people in Scotland to come together in alliance with one another to work more effectively to eliminate discrimination and harassment. We consult and involve many groups and individuals with various diverse identities, including: transsexual women, transsexual men, non-binary-gender people, cross-dressing people, intersex people and others. We prioritise working in partnership with other local, national and international equality organisations and take an intersectional approach which recognises the importance of tackling multiple discrimination. 

Scottish Trans Alliance currently has two full-time members of staff: James Morton and Vic Valentine, and a number of diverse part-time and sessional workers and volunteers who assist us in our work. We are part of the Equality Network:

30 Bernard Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6PR

Tel: 0131 467 6039

Email: sta@equality-network.org

Overview

After several years of work and the input of many interested individuals, groups and organisations, the UK passed the Equality Act  2010.  As at the end of 2012, this legislation has been fully implemented throughout the UK.

With this legislation the UK Government aims to simplify, modernise and increase the effectiveness of equality legislation.

Under the Equality Act gender reassignment is a protected characteristic, which means those who posses the characteristic are protected from discrimination by the legislation.

The Act covers people who are proposing to undergo, currently undergoing or have undergone a process (or part of a process) of gender reassignment. The act makes it clear that it is not necessary for people to have any medical diagnosis or treatment to gain this protection; it is a personal process of moving away from one’s birth gender to one’s self-identified gender. A person remains protected, even if they decide not to proceed further with transitioning.

In regards to transgender equality the Act provides the following:

  • ‘Gender reassignment’ is named as an explicit protected characteristic, alongside age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
  • The requirement for medical supervision to take place as part of a process of ‘gender reassignment’ has been removed so someone who simply changes the gender role in which they live without ever going to see a doctor is protected.
  • All the main protections which already existed for gender reassignment are carried over from the previous Sex Discrimination Act legislation – e.g. protection from gender reassignment discrimination in employment and goods and services. The previously existing exceptions are also carried over.
  • The Equality Act offers new protection from discrimination due to association with transgender people or perception as a transgender person.
  • It also offers new protection from indirect discrimination because of gender reassignment.
  • The public sector equality duty is extended to more fully include gender reassignment as one of the specific protected characteristics for which public bodies must take due regard of: the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation; the need to promote equality; and the need to promote good relations.
  • Protection is provided for gender reassignment discrimination in education.

We continue to call for the protected characteristic to be widened in the future to ‘gender identity’ rather than ‘gender reassignment’ in order to be more clearly inclusive of those transgender people who do not identify as transsexual and do not intend to change the gender in which they live. It is also currently unclear whether intersex people are protected under the act and so it should be amended to explicitly provide them with protection from discrimination. We also continue to call for various anomalies regarding the gender reassignment discrimination and harassment protections in the Equality Act 2010 to be resolved (such as how insurance premiums are calculated for transsexual people, the lack of harassment protection for trans people in school education, and in terms of occupational requirements and single sex service provision).

It must also be noted that the Equality Act 2010 does not resolve some of the ongoing problems with the Gender Recognition Act 2004, such as the requirement to submit detailed psychiatric diagnosis reports in order to access the basic human right to have your gender identity recognised.  We are pleased to report that the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act 2014 addressed the issue of transgender marriages and civil partnerships.  Further information on this can be found on our completed work pages.

Overview

The Scottish Trans Alliance project (Scottish Trans for short) has been funded by the Scottish Government Equality Unit since 2007.

STA Conference of the Isles group photo 2014We assist transgender people, service providers, employers and equality organisations to engage together to improve gender identity and gender reassignment equality, rights and inclusion in Scotland. We strive for everyone in Scotland to be safe and valued whatever their gender identity and gender reassignment status and to have full freedom in their gender expression.

We believe that it is in the interests of all gender diverse people in Scotland to come together in alliance with one another to work more effectively to eliminate discrimination and harassment. We consult and involve many groups and individuals with various diverse identities, including: transsexual women, transsexual men, non-binary-gender people, cross-dressing people, intersex people and others. We prioritise working in partnership with other local, national and international equality organisations and take an intersectional approach which recognises the importance of tackling multiple discrimination.

To read about Our Work, click here

Scottish Trans Alliance currently has two full-time members of staff: James Morton and Vic Valentine, and a number of diverse part-time and sessional workers and volunteers who assist us in our work. We are part of the Equality Network:

30 Bernard Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6PR

Tel: 0131 467 6039

Email: sta@equality-network.org

 

 

Gender recognition

Changing the gender on a UK driving licence or UK passport does not change the person’s legal gender.  A person’s legal gender is tied to their UK birth certificate.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 created a process to enable transsexual people to get their UK birth certificates and legal gender changed.  The transsexual person can apply to the Government’s Gender Recognition Panel for a Gender Recognition Certificate.  If they are successful in their application, the law will recognise them as having all the rights and responsibilities appropriate to a person of their acquired gender.

To apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate under the Standard Application Process the person needs to demonstrate that:

  • They are at least 18 years old;
  • They have lived fully for the last two years in their acquired gender and that they intend to live permanently in their acquired gender for the rest of their life;
  • They have, or have had, gender dysphoria.  They are required to provide two medical reports (one from their GP and one from their Gender Specialist) confirming the diagnosis and detailing any transition-related medical treatment (such as psychological counselling, hormones and/or surgical procedures) that they have received.  It is not necessary for the person to have undergone any surgery but if they haven’t then one of the reports should indicate whether they are waiting for any surgery or give any reason for the person deciding not to have any surgery.

To apply for UK Gender Recognition under the Overseas Application Process the person needs to demonstrate that they are at least 18 years old and that they are already legally recognised as their acquired gender in a country or territory that is on the Gender Recognition Panel’s approved list.

Full information about the application procedures, detailed guidance on the legal effects of Gender Recognition, and application forms are available from the Gender Recognition Panel website.

We are currently campaigning for the process of getting legal gender recognition to be made easier. You can find out more about the Equal Recognition Campaign at www.equalrecognition.scot

 

Confidentiality

It cannot be stressed enough that everyone has the right to privacy.  A person’s transgender status should always be treated with the same high level of confidentiality as any other sensitive personal information.

Some people may be happy to have certain people know they are transgender, but not for some others to know.  Therefore, even if they appear open about their transgender status, always leave it up to the trans person to decide who they wish to tell.  Revealing someone is transgender (‘outing’ them) not only violates their right to privacy, it also places them at risk of discrimination and harassment.  It can sometimes even place them at risk of physical or sexual assault.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 defines any information relating to a transsexual person’s gender recognition application as ‘protected information’.  It is a criminal offence for anyone acquiring this protected information in an ‘official capacity’ to disclose it to a third party without the transsexual person’s consent.  There are a few exceptions, for example if the information is required by the third party for the prevention or investigation of a crime or if the information is needed by medical professionals at a time when the trans person is too ill to be able to provide consent.

The information is deemed to have been acquired in an ‘official capacity’ if it was acquired by someone in connection with their function:

  • as a member of the civil service, a police constable or the holder of any other public office or in connection with the functions of a local or public authority or of a voluntary organisation,

or

  • as an employer, or prospective employer, of the person to whom the information relates or as a person employed by such an employer or prospective employer,

or

  • in the course of, or otherwise in connection with, the conduct of business or the supply of professional services.

Remember that finding out about someone’s trans status through being their work colleague, providing them with any public service or being their trade union representative are all included in the category of ‘official capacity’.  Therefore always maintain confidentiality and be absolutely sure to get the trans person’s written permission before discussing their case with anyone else if this could identify them.  Telling others without the trans person’s permission could result in a criminal conviction and a £5000 personal fine!

Disclosure Scotland procedure

It is common nowadays for employees and volunteers to have to undergo Disclosure Scotland checks if they will be working with children or vulnerable adults. Disclosure Scotland forms contain a section for declaring previous names but instead of putting previous names on the form it is acceptable for trans people to send Disclosure Scotland a separate letter giving details of any previous names. Quote in the letter the 16-digit barcode number at the top right corner of the Disclosure Scotland application form to prevent delays. Send the letter, together with a photocopy of any statutory declarations of change of name or any other official document to confirm the previous names, to: The Operations Manager, Disclosure Scotland, P.O. Box 250, GLASGOW, G51 1YU. Mark the envelope “Private and Confidential”. For further assistance, contact the Disclosure Scotland Helpline at 0870 609 6006 and ask to speak to the Operations Manager.

Equality Act 2010

After several years of work and the input of many interested individuals, groups and organisations, the UK passed the Equality Act  2010.  As at the end of 2012, this legislation has been fully implemented throughout the UK.

With this legislation the UK Government aims to simplify, modernise and increase the effectiveness of equality legislation.

Under the Equality Act gender reassignment is a protected characteristic, which means those who posses the characteristic are protected from discrimination by the legislation.

The Act covers people who are proposing to undergo, currently undergoing or have undergone a process (or part of a process) of gender reassignment. The act makes it clear that it is not necessary for people to have any medical diagnosis or treatment to gain this protection; it is a personal process of moving away from one’s birth gender to one’s self-identified gender. A person remains protected, even if they decide not to proceed further with transitioning.

In regards to transgender equality the Act provides the following:

  • ‘Gender reassignment’ is named as an explicit protected characteristic, alongside age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
  • The requirement for medical supervision to take place as part of a process of ‘gender reassignment’ has been removed so someone who simply changes the gender role in which they live without ever going to see a doctor is protected.
  • All the main protections which already existed for gender reassignment are carried over from the previous Sex Discrimination Act legislation – e.g. protection from gender reassignment discrimination in employment and goods and services. The previously existing exceptions are also carried over.
  • The Equality Act offers new protection from discrimination due to association with transgender people or perception as a transgender person.
  • It also offers new protection from indirect discrimination because of gender reassignment.
  • The public sector equality duty is extended to more fully include gender reassignment as one of the specific protected characteristics for which public bodies must take due regard of: the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation; the need to promote equality; and the need to promote good relations.
  • Protection is provided for gender reassignment discrimination in education.

We continue to call for the protected characteristic to be widened in the future to ‘gender identity’ rather than ‘gender reassignment’ in order to be more clearly inclusive of those transgender people who do not identify as transsexual and do not intend to change the gender in which they live. It is also currently unclear whether intersex people are protected under the act and so it should be amended to explicitly provide them with protection from discrimination. We also continue to call for various anomalies regarding the gender reassignment discrimination and harassment protections in the Equality Act 2010 to be resolved (such as how insurance premiums are calculated for transsexual people, the lack of harassment protection for trans people in school education, and in terms of occupational requirements and single sex service provision).

It must also be noted that the Equality Act 2010 does not resolve some of the ongoing problems with the Gender Recognition Act 2004, such as the requirement to submit detailed psychiatric diagnosis reports in order to access the basic human right to have your gender identity recognised.  We are pleased to report that the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act 2014 addressed the issue of transgender marriages and civil partnerships.  Further information on this can be found on our completed work pages.