Gender identity and your rights

Many acts and policies exist around gender identity. These are to protect people who identify as transgender from discrimination.

Visit the Scottish Trans Alliance website for further information

NHS Scotland Gender Reassignment Protocol

The Gender Reassignment Protocol was issued to NHS health boards on 11 July 2012.

The Gender Reassignment Protocol contains many therapies and surgical procedures. The patient and their gender clinician should discuss these in detail. This helps to find the most appropriate treatment pathway.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act, 2010 protects transgender people from discrimination and harassment. It provides protection in different areas, including in the workplace or in the provision of goods and services.

A person does not need to be under medical supervision to be protected by the Act. For example, someone assigned male at birth who decides to live as a woman, but does not consult a doctor or undergo any medical procedures, would be protected.

The Act also protects people associated with them. This includes family members, as well as others who are perceived to be transgender.

Gender Recognition Act 2004

Under the Gender Recognition Act of 2004, transgender people can:

To apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate you must be aged 18 or over. The application process requires you to prove that you:

  • have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria
  • have lived in your gender for the last 2 years
  • intend to live permanently in this gender

Patient Advice and Support Service

The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities summarises what you’re entitled to when you use NHS services or receive NHS care in Scotland. It also covers what you can do if you feel your rights have not been respected. This includes reference to the Patient Advice and Support Service.

The Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) is an independent service. It provides information, advice and support about NHS healthcare for patients, their carers and families. This information is free, accessible and confidential.

The service can give you information, advice and support if you want to:

  • give feedback or comments about healthcare provided by NHS Scotland
  • raise concerns or complaints about about healthcare provided by NHS Scotland

It also:

  • helps you understand your rights and responsibilities as a patient
  • works with the NHS in Scotland to improve healthcare provision

The Patient Advice and Support Service can be accessed from any Citizens Advice Bureau in Scotland.

Support and advice

Help is available if you’re experiencing mental health issues as a result of gender dysphoria.

Switchboard LGBT+

Contact Switchboard LGBT+ on 0300 330 0630, from 10am to 10pm every day.

You can also use their webchat service through the Switchboard LGBT+ website.

Breathing Space

You can also access support from Breathing Space by phoning 0800 83 85 87.

The Breathing Space phoneline is available:

  • 24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday to 6am Monday)
  • 6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday to Thursday)

Phone 111 if you’re:

  • in a state of despair
  • suicidal
  • need emotional support

Last updated:
23 March 2023