Trans people and the law

Transgender Day of Remembrance is held on 20 November every year, as a day to remember victims of transphobic violence and to highlight the discrimination that the trans community face. Read about trans protection under the Equality Act 2010.

The government wants trans people to be free from discrimination. This is why one of the nine protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 is “gender reassignment”.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It sets out the different ways in which it’s unlawful to treat someone.

It is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of:

  • age
  • gender reassignment
  • being married or in a civil partnership
  • being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • disability
  • race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

These are called “protected characteristics”.

You’re protected from discrimination:

  • at work
  • in education
  • as a consumer
  • when using public services
  • when buying or renting property
  • as a member or guest of a private club or association

Discrimination can come in one of the following forms:

  • direct discrimination – treating someone less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic
  • indirect discrimination – putting rules or arrangements in place that apply to everyone, but that put someone with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage, and are not justified
  • harassment – unwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic that violates someone’s dignity or creates an offensive environment for them
  • victimisation – treating someone unfairly because they’ve complained about discrimination or harassment

Trans or otherwise, if you think you’ve been unfairly discriminated against you can:

  • complain directly to the person or organisation
  • use someone else to help you sort it out (called “mediation” or “alternative dispute resolution”)
  • make a claim in a court or tribunal

Contact the Equality Advisory Support Service for help and advice on your rights under the Equality Act. The government funds EASS, a helpline which advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights, across England, Scotland and Wales.

This consumer article was written by Kevin Mantle from the Government Equalities Office


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