Equality Act 2010 – protects people in law against discrimination in the workplace, in education, and in accessing goods and services. It provides protection against direct and non-direct discrimination, harassment and victimisation. It also makes it unlawful to be denied time off work for appointments relating to gender reassignment. The Act specifically includes trans people (referred to as ‘gender reassignment’) as well as eight other protected characteristics; age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, and sexual orientation.This is civil law and the burden of proof is on the organisation to provide evidence they were not at fault.
Gender Recognition Act 2004– enables trans people who have permanently transitioned to have their acquired gender recognised by law as either male or female. On being granted a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) a new birth certificate is issued with the correct gender and name. Applications go to the Gender Recognition Panel, who require a variety of evidence, including a report from a gender specialist in order to grant gender recognition.
Section 22 of the Act creates a criminal offence for unauthorised disclosure of a GRC holder’s gender history under certain circumstances. Breaches of this must be reported to the police as soon as possible in order to present evidence before a magistrate within six months of the offence being committed.
Hate crime incidents
Sadly it is not against the law to hold anti-trans views, but that doesn’t give bigots a right to commit crimes against you.
Transgender identity is one of five special characteristics covered by hate crime legislation (the others being race, religion, disability and sexual orientation). Any crime or incident that is perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person by the victim, a member of the police, or any other person, must be recorded as ‘hate’ by police.
A victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime. Sometimes hate against trans people can manifest as homophobic, so might be recorded as a homophobic crime/incident, regardless of the actual sexual orientation of the victim
Any crime can become a hate crime. There is no law that criminalises transphobia in and of itself, but there is law against behaviour that causes harassment, alarm or distress. The police can only prosecute when the law is broken but can work with partners to try and prevent any escalation in seriousness.Hate Incidents can feel like crimes to those who suffer them and often escalate to crimes or tension in a community. For this reason the police are concerned about incidents and encourage you to report non-crime hate incidents directly to them or to partners, such as the council or to a third party reporting centre.
Police have a variety of options to help a victim receive justice and resolution to crimes committed against them. The focus is on the needs of the victim. If a case makes it to court, special measures can be arranged to protect the victim and witnesses. A judge has powers to increase the sentence for criminals convicted of crimes that are motivated by transphobia to reflect the seriousness of the offence.
Why should I report hate crime?
Hate crimes and incidents hurt; they can be confusing and frightening. By reporting them when they happen to you, you may be able to prevent these incidents from happening to someone else. You will also help the police understand the extent of hate crime in your local area so they can better respond to it.
Reporting makes a difference - to you, your friends, and your life.
For further information or advice please contact the LGBT police team within Sussex Police.
To report a crime or incident call 101 or visit www.sussex.police.uk Always dial 999 if it is urgent or an emergency.
You can also contact LGBT Switchboard to talk in confidence to an independent volunteer on 01273 204050.
(The following section is also printed in our Billboard section)
Deed of name change
If you are looking to formalise your name change, printed below is a sample template of the easiest and quickest form this can take.
However, some record holders only accept a new name that uses official forms. If you wish to go down this route, check out the government's advisory websiteherefor more information.
To avoid the pitfalls of unecessary expense if you are changing your name by deed poll, read this helpful guide published in The Guardian, by clicking here. It includes details of a free site called freedeedpoll.org.uk.