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Relevant legislation in relation to discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Equality Act 2010

Sexual orientation and gender reassignment are recognised as protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 which, with effect from 1 October 2010, repealed and replaced into a single Act previous anti-discrimination legislation, including the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and the Equality Act 2006.

The government has published a series of equality summary guides which explain the main changes to the law and the actions that organisations should undertake in order to prevent and address discrimination when providing goods, facilities and services to the public. It has also produced specific guidance on providing services for transgender customers to ensure that transgender people are treated fairly and appropriately as customers and clients.

For further information on the Equality Act and how it works, see Equality law.

Gender Recognition Act 2004

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows transgender people (under certain circumstances) to apply for a gender recognition certificate which certifies their new gender.[1] Once a transgender person has a gender recognition certificate, for all legal purposes s/he becomes her/his acquired gender,[2] and s/he can then apply for a new birth certificate that identifies her/him in the acquired gender.[3]

A transgender person who has a gender recognition certificate can marry in the acquired gender and her/his entitlement to benefits will be based on her/his acquired gender.

Civil Partnership Act 2004

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 which came into force on 6 April 2006, enables same-sex couples to register their partnership as 'civil partnership'. Chapter 3 relates to occupancy rights and tenancies and, in relation to occupancy, tenancy and succession, civil partners now have the same rights as married couples.

Sex Discrimination Act 1975

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of gender and this has been extended under the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 to prohibit discrimination against people who have undergone gender reassignment.

Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999

This statutory instrument amended and extended the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 Act to cover discrimination on the ground of gender reassignment in employment, vocational training, provision of goods, services and in circumstances where an individual is treated less favourably by another person on the ground that the individual intends to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment. The Act makes it unlawful for a person who is absent as a result of undergoing gender reassignment to be treated less favourably than s/he would be if the absence was due to sickness or injury, or some other cause, having regard to the circumstances of the case, and it is reasonable for that person to be treated no less favourably.

[1] s.1 Gender Recognition Act 2004.

[2] s.9(1) Gender Recognition Act 2004.

[3] para 4, Sch.3 Gender Recognition Act 2004.

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