The government has cut the application fee for a gender recognition certificate from £140 to £5, a move LGBT groups described as a “small step in the right direction”.
The change comes as part of equalities minister Liz Truss’ promise last autumn to make the application process “kinder and more straightforward”.
Speaking about the lower fee, Ms Truss said ministers wanted “transgender people to be free to live and to prosper in modern Britain”.
She added that 34 per cent of respondents to a National LGBT Survey had said the cost of the certificate was stopping people from applying.
“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 equalities minister said.
Further changes will be announced in the near future and the process will soon be available online, according to the government.
However, many LGBT campaigners believe that the current system needs to be overhauled and want to see the current two-year waiting period - mandated by the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) - ditched in favour of self-identification.
This is something the government rejected in September after a public consultation, with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) saying it was a“missed opportunity to simplify the law on gender recognition”.
Eloise Stonborough, associate policy director at the LGBT charity Stonewall, said the fee reduction was a “small step in the right direction”.
She emphasised that the government should streamline the process further and set out a timeline for doing so.
“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.
Additional reporting by PA
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