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Gender Reassignment

Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic and the term refers to someone who is transgender. It includes anyone who has proposed, started or completed a process to change his or her sex. The Equality Act extends pre-existing protections for transsexual people by, for example, prohibiting indirect discrimination and removing the need for a transsexual person to be under medical supervision to benefit from legal protection. In employment, the Act also requires organisations to treat absences from work because someone proposes to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment in the same way or better as absences due to illness or injury.

There is limited data on the number of transgender people working or studying in the University. It is believed that there are likely to be more transgender people in higher education than in the population at large.


  • A colleague who was born female decides to spend the rest of his life living as a man. He tells his departmental administrator, who makes appropriate arrangements. He then starts life at work and home as a man. After discussion with his doctor and a Gender Identity Clinic, he begins hormone treatment and several years later he has gender reassignment surgery. In this case he would be protected by the gender reassignment provisions of the Equality Act. His departmental administrator should seek guidance from the School's Human Resources Business Manager who will be able to provide support in managing the transition process.
  • A student who was born physically male decides to spend the rest of her life as a woman. She starts and continues to live as a woman. As she successfully ‘passes’ as a woman, the student decides that she does not want to seek medical advice nor undergo any medical procedure/treatment. She would similarly be protected by the gender reassignment provisions of the Equality Act.

Support is provided to Transgender staff members of the University, College or associated institution through the LGBT Staff Network.

Support for Transgender Students is provided by the CUSU LBGT Campaign.

The University has produced Guidance on Gender Reassignment for Staff which provides information on good practice to support staff and institutions in implementing the University's Equal Opportunity Policy in relation to gender reassignment.

The University has produced Thinking Globally, which provides information for LGB&T staff and students working and studying at home and abroad.

Additional information and guidance is available from the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Section.

The ECU has produced revised guidance on Trans Staff and Students in Higher Education.

The University has produced a glossary to explain terms related to gender reassignment.

Find out about Trans rights in Europe