UK trans data&privacy 

I've seen some people getting worried about last week's change to privacy laws affecting people in the UK, and also some misunderstandings of what's actually happening. This thread will explain what's going on and the implications for british trans people.

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UK trans data&privacy 

Background: the Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows trans people to get a new birth certificate with a different "legal sex". This is called a gender recognition certificate (GRC).

As part of that Act, it's illegal for anyone to disclose information about the gender history of a person with a GRC - their trans status becomes a secret protected by law.

The full text (long) is here:

UK trans data&privacy 

Now, the recent change: The Gender Recognition (Disclosure of Information) (England) Order 2022 was published on the 30th June and comes into action on the 28th July.

The full text (very short):

UK trans data&privacy 

This Order makes a change to the Gender Recognition Act law about disclosing the trans status of a person with a GRC in England or Wales. Specifically, disclosing that information will no longer be illegal where:

1. The information is in reference to a person who was referred to the Tavistock and Portman GIDS when they were under 18, and
2. The information is being given to one of a specific authorised group of people, for the puposes of the Cass review.

UK trans data&privacy 

The Cass review is an NHS research project about the state of gender services for young people, with the aim of finding out what changes might be made in future.

The Order is strictly time-limited to 5 years (2027), because that's when they expect the Cass review to be done.

This change affects a very small subset of trans people. Only a tiny % have a GRC (because the process to obtain one is incredibly difficult, expensive, and humiliating - but that's another topic).

UK trans data&privacy 

This change has NO effect on you if:

1. You do not have a gender recognition certificate, or

2. You have never been referred to NHS gender services, or

3. You were over 18 when you were referred to NHS gender services, or

4. You are not in England or Wales.

UK trans data&privacy 

They have not removed privacy protections for the health records of trans people. Anonymised health information of all kinds is regularly distributed among the NHS for the purposes of research and review. This is the way the NHS knows how to treat anyone for anything!

You can opt out of that NHS data sharing any time, by filling in some forms. Details for how to do that:

UK trans data&privacy 

The reason for this new Order is specifically because the NHS don't know who has a GRC. So doing research specifically on gender services means they would be at risk of unknowingly breaking the laws of the Gender Recognition Act if they included data from someone with a GRC.

UK trans data&privacy 

If you ARE affected by this change (have a GRC, were referred to gender services at under 18), it means that data on your gender history can now be used in some specific ways like other NHS health data. You can still opt out of all data sharing any time (link again:

UK trans data&privacy 

It's defnitely kind of alarming that this change has happened with very little publicity (supposedly there were consultations but I sure didn't hear about any). But it is not as big and scary as some people are suggesting. Please be sure to share accurate info about the implications! /end

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