Transgender UK Law and Legal
Birth Certificates and the Gender Recognition Register
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Birth Certificates and the Gender Recognition Register
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
[Abstract] Full Text [PDF]
New Transgender Birth Certificates FAQ
Questions answered below:
- I am permanently living in my acquired gender and have official documents showing my new name and gender.Can I get a new birth certificate?
- How can I get a new certificate?
- Why not just change the original birth record?
- What will my new birth certificate look like?
- Won’t people notice if my new birth certificate is in the most recent format but I was born before 1969?
- What is the difference between a short birth certificate and a full birth certificate?
- The Bill mentions a Gender Recognition Register. Why will there by a register? No other minority groups have records held on a centralised national database.
- What information will be recorded in the Gender Recognition Register?
- What will happen to my original birth record?
- How will the link between the original birth registration and the new birth record be maintained?
- Will there be an index of entries in the Gender Recognition Register?
- Why not remove the reference to the original birth record from the index?
- Will overseas born transsexual people be able to obtain a new birth certificate in the UK?
I am permanently living in my acquired gender and have official documents showing my new name and gender. Can I get a new birth certificate?
Not yet. If your birth has been registered in the UK a new birth certificate will be available once the Gender Recognition Bill becomes law.
Once you are living permanently in your acquired gender, you may obtain some official documents (including passports, National Insurance cards and driving licences) in your new name and gender. The organisations that issue these documents have their own guidelines about when new documents are issued, so as to ensure that they are properly able to serve the purpose for which they are provided. Gender Recognition legislation will not affect this.
How can I get a new birth certificate?
Following a successful application to the Gender Recognition Panel for legal recognition in your acquired gender, the Panel will issue you with a certificate of gender recognition. When the Panel has issued the Gender Recognition Certificate, the Registrar General will create a new record in relation to you in the Gender Recognition Register, if the Registrar General has a record of the your birth. A birth certificate in your new name and gender recorded on the gender recognition certificate may be issued from the new record.
Information on how to apply for a new birth certificate will be contained in an information pack issued by the Gender Recognition Panel and the Registrar General. Birth certificates from the Gender Recognition Register will be available, on payment of the prescribed fee, on the same basis as applications for any birth certificate.
For more information on the Gender Recognition Panel and applications, please see the FAQs on the Gender Recognition Bill.
More information from the General Register Office (GRO) is available on their website, including information on how to obtain a birth certificate. The GRO has responsibility for England and Wales.
For information on births, deaths and marriages in Scotland, please visit the website of the General Register Office for Scotland.
For information on births, deaths and marriages in Northern Ireland, please visit the website of the General Register Office for Northern Ireland.
Why not just change the original birth record?
The original birth record is an accurate record of the facts at the time of birth.
As with other birth records where there is a change of status, for example adoption or legitimation of a child on the parents’ marriage, the first record remains and a new one is created to supersede the original.
The Government has said all along that it does not intend history to be re-written. Original birth records will remain in existence, unamended, and certified copies will continue to be made available when needed, as currently happens.
What will my new birth certificate look like?
Your new birth certificate will not be distinguishable from other birth certificates. There will be nothing on the birth certificate to indicate it was compiled from information on the Gender Recognition Register.
For births registered in England and Wales there are different formats of birth certificate available depending on when the birth was registered. For example, births registered before 1969 recorded no surname for the child and the sex was recorded as boy or girl. A certificate for a birth registered after 1969 shows the child’s full name and surname and the sex is recorded as male or female.
If you were born before 1969, you will be able to choose which format of certificate (i.e. a pre 1969 landscape style or a post 1969 portrait format) you would like for your new certificate. If you opt for a pre 1969 format you will not be able to record a new surname. If you opt for a post 1969 format certificate and you were born before 1969 you will be asked to supply additional registration details as more details are recorded now than were recorded prior to 1969, for example the places of birth of the parents.
Certificates in a variety of formats are currently available from registers relating to Consular and Forces registrations, adopted and abandoned children and children born to surrogate mothers. If your birth certificate is already in one of these formats, your new certificate will reflect that style of certificate ie if you are adopted your new certificate will show the information from your adoption certificate, but your new name and gender will be recorded in place of the name and gender originally shown.
Won’t people notice if my new birth certificate is in the most recent format but I was born before 1969?
No. All other re-registrations and late registrations of births (approximately 15,000 a year) are made in the post 1969 format regardless of the date of birth so Government agencies and other organisations are used to seeing a mixture of dates and styles of birth certificate.
What is the difference between a short birth certificate and full birth certificate?
A full birth certificate is a copy of all the details contained in the register and, depending on the date of registration shows the following:
Name, date and place of birth
Father’s name and occupation
Mother’s name and maiden surname
Both parents’ places of birth (birth registered after 1969)
Mother’s usual address(birth registered after 1969)
Mother’s occupation (birth registered after 1995)
Short certificates are extracts of the information contained in the register. A short birth certificate shows only the name, sex, date and district of birth. No parents’ details are shown.
Full certificates from adoption, consular and armed forces records contain slightly different information
The Bill mentions a Gender Recognition Register. Why will there be a register? No other minority groups have records held on a centralised national database?
The purpose of the Gender Recognition Register is simply to create a new record from which the Registrar General may produce a birth certificate. It is not intended as a record of all known transsexual people, nor will it be used as such.
The register will not record current address details nor any other information which could be used to locate a transsexual person. The register will be held in the same way as the other central registers maintained by the Registrar General, such as those for adopted children and those for whom the courts have issued a parental order, and will not be open for public scrutiny.
Note: Following consultation with the trans community, the register has been renamed the Gender Recognition Register.
What information will be recorded in the Gender Recognition Register?
The Registrar General will maintain a central record which will contain all the details about date and place of birth and parentage that are included in the transsexual person’s original birth record, together with the new name(s), surname and gender of the transsexual person as notified by the Gender Recognition Panel.
In the case of an adopted person the new record will show their adoptive parents rather than their birth parents unless the adoption order has been quashed. Under adoption law the adopted person is treated as the legitimate child of the adopters.
What will happen to my original birth record?
Once you have made a successful application for legal recognition and an entry has been made in the Gender Recognition Register your original birth record will be noted to show that the birth has been re-registered by the Registrar General. The reason for this is to ensure that it is clear that the original record has been superceded and that certificates are issued from it only where they are explicitly requested and the applicant knows the original birth details. Any birth certificate issued from the superceded record will not show the marking. A birth certificate from the new record will not disclose the fact that it is compiled from the Gender Recognition Register and the system for connecting the two registers will not be open to public inspection or search.
The Registrar General will maintain a link between the original birth record and the entry in the Gender Recognition Register. Neither the Gender Recognition Register nor the link between the original birth record and the new record will be open to public inspection or search.
How will the link between the original birth registration and the new birth record be maintained?
The existing birth record will remain in the original bound birth register even though it is superseded by the new record as is the case for all re-registered births. The Registrar General will maintain a confidential record of the link between the original birth registration and the new record. He will be able to provide linking information to the originally registered name and sex of a transsexual person only in the limited circumstances set out in the Bill. The Registrar General already maintains a similar confidential link between birth records and adoption records.
Will there be an index of entries in the Gender Recognition Register?
There will not be a separate index of entries made in the Gender Recognition Register. Instead, references to entries in that register will be included in the national birth indexes in the year in which the new registration is made. This means that there will be two entries in the indexes relating to the one person, one in the year the birth was originally registered and on in the year of registration in the new name. This is what currently happens in cases of re-registration on legitimation of the child following parents’ marriage. The indexes contain between 600,000 and 700,000 references to birth records each year.
Records relating to adopted transsexual people will be indexed in the Adopted Children Register index and entries relating to transsexual people in overseas records will be indexed in the current Overseas index.
Why not remove the reference to the original birth record from the index?
Indexes to birth records are provided and made publicly available under statute. They are kept in large bound paper volumes in the Family Record Centre in London and in local register offices, as well as on microfiche in libraries etc across the country. It would be impossible to remove the reference to the original birth registration in all copies of the indexes. Any attempt to delete the entries would only serve to highlight them. No other references to records which have been re-registered are removed.
Will overseas born transsexual people be able to obtain a new birth certificate in the UK?
While transsexual people born outside the United Kingdom will be able to apply for, and be granted legal recognition in their acquired gender and therefore issued with a gender recognition certificate, they will not be entitled to a United Kingdom birth certificate.
The Registrar General can only issue a replacement birth certificate to a transsexual person where the record of his/her birth is held by the Registrar General. This includes all people born in the UK, or born to a UK citizen abroad but registered by a Forces registering officer, or with the British Consul or High Commission or born on board a ship, or aeroplane or hovercraft and the birth has been registered under the Merchant Shipping or Civil Aviation provisions.
Citation: Dept for Constitutional Affairs