a:gender is the support network for staff in government Departments/Agencies who have changed or need to change permanently their perceived gender, or who identify as intersex.

The numbers of staff who have changed or need to change permanently their perceived gender, or who identify as intersex in individual departments are relatively small and some LGB networks in the Civil Service are unable to support transsexual transgender staff who identify as hetrosexual, the issue being one of gender identity and not sexual orientation. This can reinforce feelings of isolation and exclusion.

In 2003 it was decided to form a network that embraces transsexual, transgender and intersex staff from across the whole Civil Service.

a:gender is an award winning Civil Service network.

  • To support compliance with the Public Sector Duty across the Civil Service by helping to identify discrimination against, and harassment of, transsexual people, both as employees and as service users, and to assist constructively in the reduction and where possible, elimination of these adverse impacts.

  • To increase knowledge of issues affecting transsexual/transgender staff, and staff who identify as intersex.

  • To work towards the eradication of individual and institutionalised transphobia.

  • To provide confidential and mutual support within a safe environment for members to share experiences of working in government Departments/Agencies and associated Departments/Offices.

  • To offer advice on issues relating to transsexual/transgender staff, and staff who identify as intersex, to meetings, induction projects, training, etc.

  • To provide consultation to and to raise concerns with managers and staff in Government Departments/Agencies and associated Departments/Offices.

  • To continue to strengthen a:gender's reputation as a respected source of advice and information that departments can draw upon and to raise a:gender's profile.

  • To provide confidential and mutual support to individuals and managers in the workplace.

  • To liaise between government departments & 'external' providers of support for TS/TG/Intersex people (e.g GIRES, Press for Change, Mermaids).

  • To increase the knowledge and awareness of issues affecting transsexual/transgender staff, and staff who identify as intersex by delivering bespoke training events and workshops as required.

  • To provide advice and information on all relevant legislation e.g Gender Recognition Act 2004 and Equality act 2010.

  • To hold regular meetings and provide local contact points for staff who are transitioning, have transitioned or about to transition in the workplace.

  • To provide advice and support for staff who are being harassed and discriminated against in the workplace.

  • Create and deliver bespoke training and awareness sessions in the workplace to numerous Departments and Agencies across the UK Civil Service.

  • Provide expert advice, guidance and support to managers, staff and policy owners across Civil Service.

  • Contributed to and feedback on the update of the Transgender Action Plan alongside key stakeholder groups.

  • Created a:gender's key document "The Workplace and Gender Reassignment" a guide for staff and managers.

  • a:gender Seminar London May 2013. A celebration of a:gender's 10 years.

  • First winner of the Civil Service Diversity & Equality Award for Inspiration

Employees of Government Departments/Agencies are able to join, We have 4 types of membership on offer:

Full Members
Staff in Government Departments/Agencies who have permanently changed, or who have informed their manager/HR department that they are about to begin or are in the process of permanently changing their perceived gender, or who identify as intersex.

Associate Members

Staff in Government Departments/Agencies who have declared the need for a permanent change of perceived gender, but have not yet decided to begin the process of transition.


Any member of the Civil Service who wishes to support the aims and objectives of the a:gender network.

Affiliated Members

Staff in Government Departments/Agencies on current contracts and appropriate non Government departmental Bodies can apply for affiliated membership of a:gender.

You can download our application here. Please complete and return this to agender@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

The Workplace and Gender Reassignment

A Guide for Staff and Managers (November 2013 Revised Edition)

Picture of the workplace guide pdf A thoroughly researched and tested publication that has been adopted as a standard best-practice text by many departments, and has become widely recognised as the a:gender flagship document for guidance in the workplace.

This guidance is based on an original document authored by Dee Evans in 2005. Whilst this was developed for the Home Office use, it has proved a useful source and been well received across many departments. Thus, this updated document takes a more generic approach to accommodate the wider Civil Service and public sector organisations.

Download from GOV.UK

Learn more


There is a lot of misunderstanding around the terminology used when describing trans issues. Below we have provided a number of the most commonly used terms.


Gender consists of two related aspects; gender identity which is a persons internal perception and experience of their gender; gender expression which is the way that the person behaves and lives in society and interacts with others, based on their gender identity, to live in that gender role (male or female) recognised in society
Acquired gender is used to describe the persons gender role after reassignment.


An adjective to describe a person who began life as one biological sex, then implements the personal process of gender reassignment to complete a transition to appear, and behave as the opposite sex.
Those that have completed the process may not regard themselves as transsexual people but as male or female, having resolved the conflict between their gender identity and gender expression. Also used by the Equality Act 2010 to define transsexual people as those people who fall within the definition of those people with the protected chracteristic of gender reassignment.


Often abbreviated to 'trans' or TG
This is often used as an umbrella term to include all people experience gender dysphoria and express this in some way. Transgender includes transsexual people but is much wider to embrace a wide variety of gender expression including those who have no intention of permanently changing gender and who do not identify in binary terms as being either male or female.

Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria describes the discomfort experienced when a persons sense of being a male or a female (their gender identity) is inconsistent with the physical appearance of the body. In its persistent form, this is known as transsexualism.
This is a medical condition

Gender Reassignment

Under the Equality Act 2010, a person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if they are proposing to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning their sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.
This is a personal process that may involve medical interventions such as counselling, psychotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery, but does not have to.


An intersex individual may at birth have biological characteristics of both the male and the female sexes. That is to say they have both male and female anatomical characteristics, including in varying degrees reproductive organs and secondary sexual characteristics, as a result of an abnormality of the sex chromosomes or a hormonal imbalance during embryogenesis (The transition from embryo to fetus.)

Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.


There are no physical symptoms of gender dysphoria, but people with the condition may experience and display a range of feelings and behaviours.

Read more at NHS Choices


Gender dysphoria was traditionally thought to be a psychiatric condition, with its causes believed to originate in the mind. However, more recent studies have suggested that gender dysphoria is biological and caused by the development of gender identity before birth.
The condition is not a mental illness.

Read more at NHS Choices


To obtain a Diagnosis, an individual may pay for a private consultation or be refered trough their local GP surgery to the nearest Gender Identity Clinic (GIC)

Read more at NHS Choices


Treatment for gender dysphoria aims to help people with the condition live the way they want to, in their preferred gender identity. What this means will vary from person to person, and is different for children, young people and adults. Your specialist care team will work with you on a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.
Read more at NHS Choices


Intersex people are individuals whose anatomy or physiology differ from contemporary cultural stereotypes of what constitute typical male and female.

Read more


A list of online publications relating to Intersex

Read more

Key Legislation

Gender Recognition Act 2004

The Gender Recognition Act provides transsexual people with legal recognition in their 'acquired' gender. Legal recognition follows from the issue of a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). In cases were the Gender recognition panel (a body made up of judicially trained lawyers and doctors) is satisfied that the applicant:

  • Has or has had gender dysphoria;
  • Has lived in the acquired gender throughout the preceding two years and;
  • Intends to continue to live in the acquired gender until death.

Download from legislation.gov.uk

Data Protection & Humans Right Act 1998

For the purposes of the Data Protection Act, gender reassignment and any information appertaining to an individuals gender history would constitute sensitive data, which can only be processed for certain specific reasons, as set out in the Act.
Furthermore, Article 8 of the Human Rights Act gives everyone, including transgender people, the right to privacy and family life.

Download from legislation.gov.uk

Sex Discrimination Act

An Act to render unlawful certain kinds of sex discrimination and discrimination on the ground of marriage, and establish a Commission with the function of working towards the elimination of such discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity between men and women generally; and for related purposes

Download from legislation.gov.uk

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 consolidates the many discrimination acts and regulations established over the previous decades. Gender reassignment is one of the nine distinct protected characteristics covered and the provisions made previously under the Sex Discrimination Act on gender reassignment are strengthened.

Download from legislation.gov.uk


The Gender Recognition Panel has been established under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to assess applications from transsexual people for legal recognition in their acquired gender.



A statutory body with the responsibility to protect, enforce and promote equality across the nine protected characteristics - age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.


Members Contributions

A Transwoman's Experience

Transsexualism was something I'd never heard of when I was young. My early life was lived in confusion and ignorance, my thoughts on why my body did not match my brain were a mystery to myself and a secret from everyone else.
I grew up in the 1950s and 60s - but they were still the Dark Ages for people like me. Did everyone live with the same secret problems and did they go away when you got older? But on the other hand I felt different. I felt wrong?. But I never really spoke to anyone about this until I was 28 years old despite a desperate need.

A Transman's Experience

My mum waited eight years to have a little girl and I was in constant battle with her from the age of four over appropriate toys, clothing and behavior. My role models as a child were my brothers and dad as well as men in films and TV, such as Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mocking Bird, the dad in Little House on the Prairie and Gene Kelly. (I should probably explain here that I was brought up very strictly Methodist and my TV viewing was limited) I also searched hungrily for children like me such as George from the Famous Five, Scout in To Kill a Mocking Bird? and any film with Jodie Foster in it.

Some submissions from our members

Who am I?

If the girl I see in the mirror is the girl I see in my dreams
Then the girl who lies alone in my bed
Are one and the same it seems
She shares all the thoughts inside my mind
A better friend I cannot find
Those clothes in the wardrobe are hers you see
In fact those clothes belong to me

In this world of pink and blue
the purple has no face.
We cry, we laugh and we love like you
please let us find our place.

It's not that I want to be someone else,
It's simply just me.
Only this time,
I'm the person I've always wanted to be.

Join us Today!

Although a:gender does a great deal of one to one support for individuals going through gender reassignment, we also offer advice and guidance to managers within the Civil Service and it's agencies, as well as awareness sessions.

You can download our application here. Please complete and return this to agender@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Contact Details

Iron Level 1, Vulcan House
6 Millsands, Sheffield
t S3 8NU

Tel. 0787 514 5411
Mail: agender@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk


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