Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic and the term refers to someone who is transgendered. 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 transgendered people working or studying in the University. It is believed that there are likely to be more transgendered 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 and Diversity 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
Guidance on gender reassignment for staff
The University of Cambridge is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to a pro-active and inclusive approach to equality, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups, promotes an inclusive culture, and values diversity.
Equal Opportunities Policy (2011)
In developing the Guidance on Gender Reassignment, information from specialist external organisations, like Press for Change and the Equality Challenge Unit, the higher education equality body, was researched. In addition, the views from different stakeholders from within the University were sought. These included the University's LGB&T Staff Network, the HR School Teams, the Senior Tutor representative of the University's E&D Consultative Forum and the Legal Services Office.
Status and eligibility
This Guidance provides information on good practice to support staff and institutions in implementing the University's Equal Opportunity Policy in relation to gender reassignment. This guidance is not University policy, does not form part of employees' terms and conditions of employment and may be subject to change. It is not intended to remove any current protections afforded to employees under their contracts of employment or under existing legislation or other local arrangements agreed by the University and trades unions.
The purpose of this Guidance is to assist managers, administrators and members of staff in the understanding of:
- Gender reassignment.
- The issues that may affect members of staff who are considering or currently undertaking, or have undergone gender reassignment.