If an individual obtains a Gender Recognition Certificate, but then decides that they identify with the gender they were assigned at birth (so-called 'detransitioning'; cf the case of Bell v Tavistock), can that individual 'undo' the Gender Recognition Certificate and legally revert back to their original gender? Since a GRC requires gender dysphoria, can they obtain that if they instead have the opposite problem (they identify strongly with the sex they were assigned at birth as opposed to their previously chosen identity)?

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    I'm not familiar with the law on this at all, but this sounds less like a case of the opposite problem than a second case of the first. If the person is now legally recognized as the second gender but identifies with the first, why wouldn't this be the same "gender dysphoria" as in the first case?
    – bdb484
    Jun 5, 2021 at 19:26
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    @bdb484 indeed. I am not familiar with the criteria for gender dysphoria, but it seems plausible that it would include confused feelings about gender and indefinite feelings about gender in addition to definite feelings of having been assigned the wrong gender at birth.
    – phoog
    Jun 5, 2021 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


The Gender Recognition Act 2004 makes no mention, as far as I can see, to "undoing" a GRC but it does require at s.2(1) an applicant:

(a) has or has had gender dysphoria,

(b) has lived in the acquired gender throughout the period of two years ending with the date on which the application is made,

(c) intends to continue to live in the acquired gender until death, and

(d) complies with the requirements imposed by and under section 3 [provide evidence etc]

The use of the emboldened present perfect tense could possibly infer that although the applicant no longer has gender dysphoria*, they have had it at sometime in the past and therefore satisfy this mandatory requirement - I cannot find any case law where this has been tested, nor any legal commentary on this particular subject but I have found this:

The change is permanent. It is possible to reverse a GRC but this would require applying for a new GRC which has requirements that would take several years to meet.


*Edit: Gender dysphoria (GD) is the distress a person feels due to a mismatch between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth - so if there is a mismatch between the identity on their GRC and their birth certificate, then it seems they may in fact have GD after all.

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