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Gender reassignment

What does it mean?

This term has two different meanings depending on context.

Legal definition

According to the Equality Act 2010, a person has the protected characteristic of “gender reassignment” if that person:

“is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.”

UK law makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their gender reassignment. It also makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone because they are perceived to be undergoing gender reassignment, even if they aren’t.

This legal definition applies to you regardless of what you have or have not had any particular treatment, and is intended to be interpreted broadly. It includes people who have only had social aspects of transition such as a name change.

Medical definition

In medicine, the term “gender reassignment” can refer to any medical treatment to do with gender, but most often refers to “bottom” surgeries such as vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, or metoidioplasty.

"Gender reassignment" is a word that has a specific meaning in UK law.

Words like this can:

  • be useful if you want to assert your rights under law

However, words like this can also:

  • be confusing, as a word's legal definition may differ from its use in casual speech
  • sound overly rigid or formal
  • imply that the law's definition is the main one that matters

Think carefully before using this word to describe someone or a group of people - they may not wish to be described that way.

Medical treatment

"Gender reassignment" is a word that describes a broad class of medical treatments.

Words like this can:

  • give a broad and holistic view of medical treatments to do with gender

However, words like this can also:

  • be ambiguous as to which treatments are or are not included
  • imply that such treatments are inherently to do with gender
  • imply that these treatments are "necessary" for your identity to be valid

Think carefully before using this word to describe someone or a group of people - they may not wish to be described that way.

Errors and omissions

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Errors and omissions

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