UK’s legal recognition of trans people one of worst in Europe

Rachel Badham August 12, 2020

A 2020 report by the European Commission has revealed that legal gender recognition in the UK is one of the lowest ranking in Europe; it is similar to that in Poland where there are currently extensive debates surrounding LGBTQ+ rights, and worse than the recognition of trans people in Hungary and Croatia which are generally regarded as less LGBTQ+ friendly.  The report examined the experiences of trans people in Europe, and the link between legal gender recognition and socioeconomic position. The UK was placed in the second lowest ranking cluster of countries.


Discussions to upgrade the UK’s 2004 Gender Recognition Act (GRA) has been circulating since 2016, however action to do so has been consistently delayed by the Conservative government, despite extensive discourses on plans to improve the GRA legislature in 2018.

Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and Portugal were the highest ranking countries in terms of their approach to legal gender recognition; they all allow trans people to self-determine their legal gender which is what LGBTQ+ campaigners in the UK have been calling for. The only countries that ranked worse than the UK were Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia and Romania, all which have no process for legal gender recognition at all.