The application fee for a Gender Recognition Certificate is to be reduced to “single figures”, government sources have told the BBC.
Liz Truss announced in September that the government would reduce the £140 cost of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which allows trans men and women to update their legal sex, after submitting medical evidence, to a “nominal amount”.
Government sources have now told the BBC that this “nominal amount” will be around £5, with the change taking place in early May. The process is unlikely to have been moved online by this time, as was also promised by Truss in September.
The sources added that making the application completely free would take longer, as it would require new legislation.
Nancy Kelley, chief executive of Stonewall, said in response to the news: “It’s also important that the government commit to a clear timeline of further changes to streamline the application process, and move it online.
“However, none of these changes are a substitute for meaningful reform to the Gender Recognition Act.”
The Gender Recognition Act (GRA) allows trans men and women in the UK to obtain a GRC in order to amend their legal sex, although non-binary people are still unable to do the same.
The application process for acquiring a GRC has long been criticised and time-intensive, invasive and costly. It requires a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and for medical reports to be submitted to a panel.
Theresa May vowed to “streamline and demedicalise” the process in 2017, and in September 2020 the results of a 2018 public consultation on GRA reform were released, showing clear support for legal recognition of non-binary people and self-identification replacing the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
However, equalities minister Liz Truss scrapped any plans for meaningful reform, instead announcing that she would merely reduce the GRC application fee and move the process online.
The Equalities Office said in a statement: “The government is committed to making the process of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate as straightforward and dignified as possible.
“We are progressing work at speed to simplify this process as well as reducing the fee and further details will be available imminently.”