My battle with a Gender Recognition Panel

The decision to transition had taken me several years. Early life was just about trying to understand why I was different, later life worrying about how I could make such a change in my life.

Eleven years ago I decided the time had come to deal with these feelings and that resulted in a lot of research, and a lot of soul searching.

I saw two different medical professionals, both of whom confirmed with weeks their diagnosis. They even supported me early on to undergo medical intervention.

Work stood in the way of transitioning as they had made me reapply for my own job. That prevented me transitioning at the start of my medical consultations and I relayed this to the people helping me. That was the November and the following March I fully transitioned. Work were, by this time, very supportive and even gave me additional time off to support that transition.

In the first week I had obtained a new passport (as we were going abroad) and applied for a new driving licence. I was treated extremely well at the passport office as I had to make it an urgent application. They even used the opportunity to train a member of staff in how to handle such changes.

A change of name Deed Poll (witnessed by a friend) and a letter from my doctor stating that I was intending to live in my new gender for the rest of my life was all that it took for both the passport and driving licence to be changed. I travelled, just days later, around the Mediterranean using my passport to prove my identity.

Two year later, I applied for an interim gender recognition certificate (as I was married to my second wife and would have to annul the marriage to get a full GRC).

I put together piles of papers including bank statements, utilities and credit cards in my new name, even payslips and my change of name documents. I had reports from my surgeon, my GP, my Counsellor and a practitioner registered on the approval list by the Gender Recognition Panel.

And the Gender Recognition Panel deferred my application because they were not satisfied that I had transitioned at work – a note in my diagnosis that I couldn’t transition when I first consulted the Counsellor meant that I was lying about transitioning 6 months later!

But not just that, they refused to believe I was divorced from my first wife (although I had been with my current wife for 13 years at the time).

Despite having a passport and driving licence for 2 years, having had gender reassignment surgery, having over 2 years of hormone treatment, having changed jobs and living my entre life in my acquired gender, the GRP refused to issue a GRC. Somehow, they decided they knew better than all the medical professionals that had supported me throughout those few years.

The current process fails in many ways. I cannot remember showing my birth certificate to anyone since it was changed, but my passport and driving licence are used to prove my identity on a regular basis.

The GRP seemed more concerned with finding reasons to deny me a GRC. 

Editor’s Note: The Government’s consultation on amending the Gender Recognition Act to make this process less stressful and subject to arbitrary decisions with no significant right of appeal ends on Friday. LGBT+ Lib Dems have some useful guidance for completing it here. 

* Ms A is a pseudonym but her identity is known to the editorial team of LDV

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • What a horrific experience 🙁
    * hugs *

  • Caroline Macdonald 16th Oct '18 - 12:39pm

    Your bravery is incredible. I want you to know that trans and non-binary people within the party and online have helped me so much in terms of education and further enlightenment. This story is an example of why GRA reform is so important and I’ve been appalled at the trolling and abuse I’ve seen online and heard people have had to experience. I found the small taste I got unpleasant; then I realised the trans community get far, far worse every day. You are so brave yo tell this story. It’s thanks to people like you that I’ve realised all different communities of women, men and non-binary individuals really can come together on an intersectional basis to fight for equal rights and in shared experiences of discrimination.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

This post has pre moderation enabled, please be patient whilst waiting for it to be manually reviewed. Liberal Democrat Voice is made up of volunteers who keep the site running in their free time.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User Avatarnigel hunter 20th Nov - 12:27am
    When will the Tories publish the facts and figures? I trust they will show them quickly so they cannot be hidden for ages.
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 20th Nov - 12:06am
    We called for the abolition of the Benefits Cap in the far-reaching motion, Mending the Safety Net, passed at the Brighton Conference in September 2016,...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 19th Nov - 11:31pm
    There is much truth in what you write there, Glenn.
  • User AvatarMichael BG 19th Nov - 11:30pm
    We must never forget the part our MP’s played in the cutting of benefits between 2010 and 2015, it is no consolation for members to...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 19th Nov - 11:29pm
    Nonetheless, Jayne, the waste and distraction of Brexit has perhaps helped to inhibit the Opposition parties from allowing the policies of austerity to go on...
  • User AvatarGlenn 19th Nov - 11:23pm
    The problem grew because the consensus of the centre was really the consensus of the economic right. The markets will solve everything, weed out the...