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The University of Southampton

Gender identity policy

The University of Southampton recognises that there can be differences between physical sex and gender identity/expression. The University of Southampton will at no time discriminate against people on the grounds of transvestism, transsexualism, intersex conditions or any process of gender reassignment, begun or complete. Where this policy refers to ‘trans people’, it has in mind people living with any of these identities. When it refers to ‘gender identity’, it covers both the fixed identity of people living in the gender of their birth and the more fluid identities of many trans people. See Appendix 1 for a fuller explanation of terminology.

The University of Southampton celebrates and values the diversity of its workforce, and believes that the university will benefit from employing trans people at all levels of responsibility, thus hoping to provide role models for students who identify as trans. The University of Southampton will treat all employees and students with respect, and seek to provide a positive working and learning environment free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

The University of Southampton undertakes the following:

This statement is based on the Joint agreement on guidelines for transgender equality in employment in further education colleges (Association of Colleges et al, 2005).

Managing the transitioning process for students or staff

  1. A person identifies that their physical gender is not their actual gender
  2. The person informs the University that they want to transition to their preferred gender and commence a real-life experience
    • If the person is a member of staff they can raise this with their manager or HR Advisor.
    • If the person is a student an identified person from Student Services as appropriate meets with the individual. The transition is discussed and an action plan (including the support individuals will receive) with timescales is agreed.
  3. At the person’s request, the University updates its records to reflect any name change and their new gender
  4. A new file is created and any documents revealing their former name and gender that must be kept (for example pension records) are marked ‘confidential’.
  5. After at least 12 months of real life experience the person may undergo genital surgery.
  6. After two years of living in their chosen gender, whether or not they have undergone surgery, the person applies for a gender recognition certificate
  7. A gender recognition certificate is awarded and the person is issued with a new birth certificate. The person is now legally recognised in their chosen gender – all documents and references not already changed must now be changed
  8. If the person is a staff member who is a member of the institution’s pension scheme, they must send their new birth certificate to the appropriate person to ensure their gender is changed on pension records

Legislation relating to trans people

What legislation applies to transgendered people?

Legal protection against discrimination is an important foundation. There are a number of important pieces of legislation which will help protect people and cement the rights and responsibilities that they have.

There are two main pieces of legislation which apply to transgendered people – the Equality Act 2010 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010. This important piece of legislation strengthened and streamlined equality legislation.

Much of the Act brought forward and streamlined previous legislation and created some new protections. The Equality Act 2010 provides explicit protection for transsexual people - people who are proposing to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone the process of changing their sex. These people have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. Protection is provided from discrimination in employment, services and public functions.

The Act changed the law in several ways:

More information on the Equality Act 2010 can be found here.

Genuine Occupational Qualification

There are limited circumstances were it might be lawful to discriminate on the grounds of Gender Reassignment just as there are some situations were discrimination is legal on the grounds of sex. These include a role where a person’s sex is a Genuine Occupational Qualification (GOQ) for the role in question, for example:

Gender Recognition Act

The Gender Recognition Act came into force in April 2005 and allows transsexual people to seek full legal recognition of their gender identity. It allows transsexual people to apply, through the Gender Recognition Panel, for a gender recognition certificate (GRC). This means that they:

The Ministry of Justice holds responsibility for the Gender Recognition Act. Additional information can be found on the Gender Recognition Panel website on how to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate.

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