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Gender Reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. 

The Equality Act 2010 says you must not be discriminated against because of gender reassignment. Under the Act gender reassignment means proposing to undergo, undergoing, or having undergone a process to reassign your sex.  To be protected from gender reassignment discrimination, you do not need to have undergone medical treatment or surgery to change from your birth sex to your preferred gender.

‘Sex’ is understood as binary – being male or female – with a person’s legal sex being determined by what is recorded on their birth certificate, based on biological sex. A trans person can change their legal sex by obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate through procedures set out in the Gender Recognition Act 2004. The key concept in equality for trans people is respect – respect for their gender identity, for their right to work or study with dignity, for their name and personal identity, for their privacy and confidentiality. 


It is important to distinguish between ‘gender reassignment’ and ‘sexual orientation’. These two terminologies define two different things and are not synonymous. 

Gender reassignment means proposing to undergo, undergoing, or having undergone a process to reassign your sex and applies to individuals who find the gender they were assigned at birth does not match their gender identity. Therefore, they seek restoration of their gender identity. Different terms are used to describe the range of people whose gender identity is different from their assigned gender from birth. The most common umbrella terms are 'transgender people' or 'trans people'. 

Sexual orientation refers to who someone is attracted to.

Gender is a social construct and is indicative of characteristics associated to men and women and/or an individual’s conception of their identity. The term is often used interchangeably with ‘sex’, partly in recognition that much of the inequality between women and men is driven by underlying social and power structures rather than by biological sex.  

Gender Identity refers to an internal aspect of ourselves which indicates how we relate to gender. In brief, our gender identity tells us whether we identify as male or female. Cisgender is a gender identity where an individual identifies with their assigned gender at birth. If an individual does not identify with their assigned gender at birth and there is disparity between their sex and gender, they are 'transgender'.  

Trans (or transgender) is an umbrella term for identities that are not cisgender. Trans can be inclusive of transgender identities, non-gender conforming identities, and third sex.  

Non-binary refers to individuals who identify with or expresses a gender identity that is neither entirely male nor entirely female.

In some cases, individuals may experience discomfort due to the disparity between their biological body and gender identity; this is called 'gender dysphoria'. Gender dysphoria affects individuals differently from person to person. People may begin by dressing in a way that matches their gender identity to address their gender dysphoria; and some may seek transition with sex-change surgery and/or hormone treatment.   

When preferred pronouns and preferred names are disclosed, it is important that we respect and use these when addressing individuals. Referring to trans people by their preferred name and preferred pronouns can be empowering for the individual and is reaffirming of their gender identity. If you are unsure of their preferred pronouns, it is acceptable to ask politely so long as the conversation occurs in a safe space where the individual feels comfortable to disclose. You can also introuce yourself along with your pronouns, then ask others their pronouns; "Hello, my name is [name], and I use [prounouns] pronouns. What are your pronouns?". 

For example, an easy act for inclusion is changing your zoom name/signature to reflect your pronouns.

Transphobia is the direct discrimination or indirect discrimination against a person due to their transgender identity or non-gender conformity. Transphobia can hinder a transgender person from living fulfilling lives.   

Our priority is to respect, safeguard and protect everyone in our community. This is manifested through our investments in staff and student support, trained staff LGBT Champions, individual self-contained cubicles, and gender-neutral bathrooms, using students and staff's personal gender pronouns and our Transgender and Non-Binary Equality policies.  

Further information, resources, and support