What do we mean by 'trans'?
Trans is an umbrella term which describes people whose gender identity does not align with the sex/gender they were assigned at birth. For example, a trans woman could be a person who was assigned male at birth but identifies as a woman. This definition includes people who identify as non-binary (those whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with the binary of ‘man’ or ‘woman’), genderqueer, genderfluid and agender.
Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of their own gender, which may or may not align with the sex/gender they were assigned at birth.
Transitioning refers to the steps a trans person may take to live fully in their gender identity, whatever that means to them. Everybody’s transition is different. Transitioning can include:
- Social transition (e.g. changes in name, pronouns, presentation)
- Legal transition (e.g. changing legal name and gender)
- Medical transition (e.g. taking hormones and/or having 'top' and/or 'bottom' surgery to change your body).
Not everybody will do all or any of the steps above, but that does not invalidate their gender.
For more guidance see our Trans Inclusion Definitions and Terminology document (coming soon).
Trans Equality and Legislation
The Equality Act 2010, protects trans people who propose to undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone a process (or part of a process) of having their sex reassigned. A person does not have to be under medical supervision to have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows trans people to apply to the gender recognition panel for legal recognition of their acquired gender. Applicants who meet the requirements of the Act will be issued with a gender recognition certificate (GRC).
Confidentiality is essential and disclosing someone's trans status, history, or that they have received a GRC without their consent is a criminal offence.
Want to learn more about how to support and be an ally to our trans staff and students? See our LGBT Allies initiative.