Equality in Fife: Gender Reassignment


A person has the protected characteristic of Gender Reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex[1].

The terms ‘gender reassignment’ and ‘transsexual’ are used in the Equality Act 2010, however following the Women and Equalities Committee 2016, the preferred term is trans. This is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from their birth sex, including transsexual people, transvestite / cross-dressing people (those who wear clothing traditionally associated with the other gender either occasionally or more regularly), androgyne / polygender people (those who have non-binary gender identities and do not identify as male or female), and others who define as gender variant[2].

Interesting facts about Gender Reassignment

  • Around 1 in 100 people may be experiencing some degree of gender variance.
  • Around 1 in 500 may undergo transition
  • In Fife, this means that between 740 and 3700 people may be gender variant
  • In any year, between 11 and 56 people might undergo transition
  • young trans people are often rejected by their families and therefore often lack financial and housing support
  • bullying of trans people is common in education and includes staff as well as students
  • trans people often lack access to appropriate toilet and changing facilities
  • disclosing another person’s trans status without their expressed permission is malpractice and can be illegal

Demography

Data on gender reassignment is both scarce and sensitive. The Registrar General for Scotland maintains a Gender Recognition Register (which is not open to public scrutiny) and in which the birth of a transgender person whose acquired gender has been legally recognised is registered showing any new name(s) and the acquired gender.

This enables the transgender person to apply to the Registrar General for Scotland for a new birth certificate showing the new name(s) and the acquired gender.

Across Scotland there were 25 entries in the Gender Recognition Register 2015, increasing from 9 since 2014[3], no further detailed data is available at this time.

Across the UK, in April to June 2017, 70 full certificates were granted, of which 5 were for married applicants and 65 for single applicants. 38 (54%) of the individuals with full certificates granted were registered male at birth and 32 (46%) were registered female at birth[4].

The ages of individuals with full certificates granted over since 2008 is fairly distributed across the age groups:

Source: UK MoJ ( September 2017) Tribunals and Gender Recognition Statistics Quarterly – Full Gender Recognition Certificates, 2008/09 to 2016/17

As the Equality Act protects people proposing to undergo, undergoing or having undergone the of gender reassignment, the population extends beyond the numbers of people who have been legally recognised or who have undergone transition clinically. There is a range of reports (Reed et al. 2009[5], GIRES 2009[6], GIRES 2011[7]) providing estimates of the prevalence of gender variance, of people who had sought medical care and treatment for gender variance and considering and undergone transition[8]. The higher estimates can be summarised approximately as:

  • 1% of the population may be experiencing some degree of gender variance.
  • 2% may undergo transition
  • 025% have so far sought medical care
  • 015% are likely to have undergone transition
  • 003% are likely to be commencing transition any year

In Fife, those estimates mean that between 740 and 3700 people are gender variant, with between 11 and 56 likely to undergo transition in any year. A very rough model gives the figures below:

Scotland Population Fife
Population
Estimated
Incidence
5404700 (NRS2016) 370330
(NRS2016)
 
GIRES model Low (2007) High (2011) Low (2007) High (2011) Low (2007) High (2011)  
Number of people with gender variance 0.2000% 1.0000% 10809 54047 741 3703  
Who may undergo transition 0.0400% 0.2000% 2162 10809 148 741  
Who have sought medical care 0.0050% 0.0250% 270 1351 19 93  
Who are likely to undergo transition 0.0030% 0.0150% 162 811 11 56  
Who may be commencing transition 0.0006% 0.0030% 32 162 2 11  

Source: Based on GIRES 2011 update – Gender Variance in the UK

Education

The Scottish Government commissioned ‘Trans Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Study 2012’[9] indicated that 91% of trans boys and 66% of trans girls experienced harassment or bullying at school, leading to depression, isolation and a desire to leave education as early as possible.

The Stonewall School Report surveyed 3,713 LGBT young people aged between 11-19 (402 living in Scotland) and gives a breakdown of their experience at school as:

  • 71% are bullied for being LGBT
  • 71% are not able to use the changing rooms they feel comfortable in
  • 66% are not able to play for the sports team they feel comfortable in.
  • 65% are not able to use the toilets they feel comfortable in at school.
  • 52% are bullied for being trans
  • 36% are not able to be known their preferred name at school.
  • 14% cannot wear clothes and uniform in line with their gender identity

A key finding was that 86% of respondents reported that their school permitted them to wear a uniform or clothes in line with their gender identity:
Source:
Stonewall (2017) School Report – Page 20

Work

The Government Equalities Office 2011 research[10] identified employment as being the second top area of concern for the Transgender community, with 31% of respondents selecting it as their priority (after health at 49%). Other key findings cover the following topics and equality concerns:

Discrimination and harassment

  • Half of respondents (50%) said they had been harassed or discriminated against because of their gender identity in their previous or current job.
  • Around a third of respondents (32%) said the main source of discrimination or harassment came from their colleagues or other employees.

Challenging discrimination and harassment

  • Nearly two thirds of respondents (63%) raised the discrimination and/or harassment they experienced within their organisations, with most going to their senior manager.
  • Nearly a third of respondents (30%) said their complaint was handled poorly.

Employers’ transgender policy

  • Over half of respondents (57%) said their current or last employer did not have an employment policy to support transgender employees.
  • Most respondents (93%) said their employer has never asked to see a Gender Recognition Certificate, regardless of whether the respondent had one.

Job seeking

  • Most respondents (96%) said they had never been given any support because of their gender identity in finding a job.

Privacy and Identity

  • Approximately a third of respondents (31%) said that gossip, as a threat to their privacy, had the greatest impact on their life.
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) did not feel their current identity secure from disclosure.

More recently (26 February 2016) TotalJobs surveyed 435 trans people across the UK (23 employed in Scotland) which show a higher incidence of transphobic discrimination (60%, against 50% in the Government Equalities Office 2011 research) but similarly reports the main source coming from colleagues[11]. Other key findings for this report are:

  • 53% have felt the need to hide their trans status from colleagues.
  • 51% believe in the workplace, acceptance and understanding of trans employees has improved due to increased media focus on trans issues.
  • 50% received positive reactions from colleagues when they transitioned.
  • 43% actively look for companies with trans-friendly policies when applying for jobs.

Living Standards

Poverty

The Scottish Transgender Alliance (2008) report[12] suggests that Transgender people’s income is low. 71 Transgender people in Scotland found that 30% of respondents had an income of over £20,000, and 48% of respondents had an income under £10,001. More recent studies do not have detailed information on the experiences and position of transgender people in relation to income and poverty.

Health

Access to healthcare

Health remains the main concern of trans people. From the Government Equalities Office (2011) survey[13], 40% thought that delays in treatment were the greatest challenge they had experienced with regard to transgender health issues, with 75% experiencing delays in access to treatment or referrals. It is to note that 53% thought that GPs were doing an excellent or good job in addressing their health needs.

From the 2012 STA study, for respondents who had attended Gender Identity Clinics, 60% were seen within a year, 32% waited 1-3 years, and less than ten percent waited over three years for an appointment.

Once seen at a Gender Identity Clinic, 46% of the respondents felt that they had experienced difficulties obtaining the treatment or assistance that they needed. These included administrative errors, restrictive protocols, problematic attitudes, and unnecessary questions/tests.

Mental health

58% of the participants that had to wait for access to a Gender Identity Clinic felt that this had led to their mental health or emotional wellbeing worsening. As for mental health services the same 2012 study reports:

  • 29% of the respondents felt that their gender identity was not validated as genuine, instead being perceived as a symptom of mental ill-health.
  • 17% were also told that their mental health issues were because they were transgender.
  • 45% of respondents used mental health services more before transition than after, 18% more during, and less than one percent used mental health services more post-transition.

Justice and Personal Security

Hate crime, homicides and sexual / domestic abuse

In 2015-2016, 7 people were convicted with Transgender aggravations (Note: criminal proceeding may have one or more aggravator codes associated with it and as such caution is required when comparing changes over the longer term or shortly after an aggravator code is introduced)

2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 % change
All aggravators 9,519 10,040 10,481 12,294 13,751 13,823 1%
Domestic 8,566 8,877 9,292 11,077 12,440 12,374 -1%
Racial 614 626 696 699 702 761 8%
Religious 275 370 272 256 241 245 2%
Sexual orientation 56 155 194 227 320 368 15%
Disability 5 9 21 30 40 68 70%
Transgender 3 3 6 5 8 7 -13%

Source: Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2015-16

Table 12: People convicted with an aggravator recorded against the main charge by gender, 2010-11 to 2015-2016 

Just as the majority of people convicted with an aggravator were male, most people convicted with Transgender aggravations were males, although the figures are relatively low (5 by males, 2 by females). 

  2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 % change
Male
All aggravators 8,492 8,933 9,184 10,715 11,884 11,978 1%
Domestic 7,665 7,927 8,176 9,693 10,795 10,741 -1%
Racial 520 512 569 569 574 633 10%
Religious 254 349 255 239 213 228 7%
Sexual orientation 48 135 164 186 265 316 19%
Disability 2 8 16 23 33 55 67%
Transgender 3 2 4 5 4 5 25%

Source: Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2015-16

Table 12: People convicted with an aggravator recorded against the main charge (males), 2010-11 to 2015-2016 


 
2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 % change
Female
All aggravators 1,027 1,107 1,297 1,579 1,867 1,845 -1%
Domestic 901 950 1,116 1,384 1,645 1,633 -1%
Racial 94 114 127 130 128 128 0%
Religious 21 21 17 17 28 17 -39%
Sexual orientation 8 20 30 41 55 52 -5%
Disability 3 1 5 7 7 13 86%
Transgender 1 2   4 2 -50%

Source: Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2015-16

Table 12: People convicted with an aggravator recorded against the main charge (females), 2010-11 to 2015-2016

As to types and nature of abuse, the STA 2008 report[14] findings highlighted that:

  • 46% of respondents stated they had previously experienced transphobic abuse in domestic relationships, mostly as verbal abuse
  • 62% of respondents stated that they had experienced transphobic harassment from strangers in public places who perceived them to be Transgender, mostly as verbal abuse but with 31% experienced threatening behaviour, 17% experienced physical assault and four percent experienced sexual assault
  • 38% did not describe experiencing transphobic harassment from strangers (noting that 23% of respondents stated they have never been perceived to be Transgender by any strangers)
  • Only 15% of respondents had ever reported any transphobic harassment to the police. Of those 11 respondents, only five stated they were satisfied with the response they received from the police.

Participation

Political and civic participation and representation

The Government Equalities Office (2011)[15] notes that over two-thirds of respondents (70%) said they were not involved in public and / or political life. 43% of respondents said they had experienced challenges because of their transgender status which prevented them from participating.

A 2010 qualitative study into barriers to participation describes being part of a trade union; Involvement with a council, community group / health organisation or being part of other campaigning organisations, such as a student union as main activities. Internal fears were most frequently cited barriers to participation, followed by location[16].

Social and community cohesion, Family life*

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010[17] questioned whether people who cross-dress attract more prejudiced responses than people who have had sex change operations as it challenges the male/female dichotomy.

55% said they would be unhappy if a close relative married or formed a relationship with someone who cross-dresses in public, followed by 49% that would be unhappy if a close relative married someone who has had a sex change.

There is a clear age element in attitudes, with younger people much less likely to be unhappy if a close relative married or formed a relationship with someone who cross-dresses in public (35% vs 80% for 18-24 vs 65+). This is similar for those unhappy if a close relative married someone who has had a sex change (35% vs 72%).

  Feelings about different groups marrying / forming long-term relationship with a family member
  Very happy / happy

%

Neither
%
Unhappy / very unhappy

%

 
Someone who cross-dresses in public 19 24 55  
Someone who has had a sex change operation 22 26 49  
A Gypsy/Traveller 32 28 37  
Married/civil partnership with someone of same sex

 

37 31 30  
A Muslim 47 29 23  
Someone who from time to time experiences depression 41 35 21  
A Hindu 49 32 18  
Someone who is Black/Asian 58 31 9  
Someone who is Jewish 54 35 9  
A Christian 66 31 2  

Source: Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010: Table 3.1 


 
% Unhappy with different groups forming long-term relationship with a close relative, by age
 

Age Group

 

18-24

 

25-34

 

35-44

 

45-54

 

55-64

 

65+

 

Someone who cross dresses in public 35 42 50 48 68 80
Someone who has had a sex- change operation 35 36 42 41 57 72
A Gypsy/Traveller 25 23 36 28 39 63
Someone of the same sex as themselves 16 17 20 22 34 62
A Muslim 14 10 18 17 23 45
Someone who experiences depression from time to time 13 13 16 14 27 39
A Hindu 7 11 12 12 19 38
Someone who was black or Asian 3 4 6 5 9 21
Someone who was Jewish 5 6 5 6 10 18
A Christian 2 4 2 1 1 6

Source: Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010: Table 3.2

[1] EHRC (March 2017) Equality Act 2010 – Handbook for Advisors [Scotland] p7

[2] EHRC (11 Aug 2017) Gender Reassignment discrimination.

[3] NRS Registration Division, 2016

[4] Tribunals and Gender Recognition Statistics Quarterly 2016-2017.

[5] Reed, B., Rhodes, S., Schofield, P. and Wylie, K (2009) Gender Variance in the UK: Prevalence, Incidence, Growth and Geographic Distribution Gender Identity Research in Education Society

[6] GIRES (2009) Gender Variance in the UK

[7] GIRES (2011) Number of Gender Variant People in the UK – Update 2011

[8] Note: GIRES gauges prevalence of gender variance as ranging being between 0.2% (2007) and 1% (2011 update) with a growth of 11% per annum

[9] McNeil, J. et al (2012) Trans Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Study 2012’ http://www.gires.org.uk/assets/Medpro-Assets/trans_mh_study.pdf

[10] Government Equalities Office (2011) Headline findings from our transgender e-surveys. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/85499/transgender-survey.pdf

[11] TotalJobs (2016) TRANS EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCES SURVEY 2016. https://www.totaljobs.com/insidejob/trans-employee-survey-report-2016/

[12] Scottish Transgender Alliance (2008) Transgender Experiences in Scotland Research Summary. http://www.scottishtrans.org/Uploads/Resources/staexperiencessummary03082.pdf

[13] Government Equalities Office (2011) Headline findings from our transgender e-surveys. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/85499/transgender-survey.pdf

[14] McNeil, J. et al (2012) Trans Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Study 2012’ http://www.gires.org.uk/assets/Medpro-Assets/trans_mh_study.pdf

[15] Government Equalities Office (2011) Headline findings from our transgender e-surveys. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/85499/transgender-survey.pdf

[16] Office for Public Management (2010) Experiences of and barriers to participation in public and political life for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people Report to the Government Equalities Office. http://www.equality-ne.co.uk/downloads/736_lgtb-experiences.pdf

[17] Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010: Attitudes to Discrimination and Positive Action http://www.gov.scot/Resource/Doc/355716/0120166.pdf