Gender identity and recognition: a rough guide to the law and the need for reform

In this podcast three members of our LGBT+ Lawyers Division discuss the need to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004.


  • Bridget Garrood, partner, Cartridges Law
  • Rachel Reese, director, Global Butterflies
  • Tom Ketteley (moderator), assistant director, litigation directorate within a central government department

Terminology used

Assigned sex at birth (or registered sex at birth): Sex is a designation 'assigned at birth'. A biological description of e.g. male/female. Preferred terms by trans community: 'Born male' or 'Born female' or 'Assigned male at birth' or 'Assigned female at birth'.

Gender identity: A person’s internal sense of gender. For trans people, this may not match the sex they were assigned with at birth. Not visible to other people unless externally expressed. A whole spectrum of gender identities exists (e.g. not just male and female).

Gender expression: External presentation of internal gender. e.g. expressed in appearance, title, pronouns, clothes, voice and behaviours. Trans people often seek (but not always) to align gender expression with their own internal gender identity. Often, it won’t be absolutely known unless explicitly expressed in words by the person.

Non-binary: Gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine (binary) e.g. neither male nor female or both male and female. A whole spectrum of gender identities exist (e.g. not just male and female). May or may not identify as trans or non-binary.

Intersex: (Not a trans identity – see LGBTQ'I') – Intersex people are individuals whose anatomy or physiology differ from contemporary cultural stereotypes of what constitute typical male and female.

Cis-gender: Gender identity aligns with assigned sex (sometimes called non-trans). 

Listen to the podcast:

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS