Jersey trans* law

Currently, there is only one piece of legislation in Jersey that is directly concerned with protecting transgender islanders: Gender Recognition (Jersey) Law 2010

This law deals with the process of issuing a gender recognition certificate (“GRC”), the legal effect of a GRC on existing marriages and civil partnerships, the general consequences of issuing a GRC, the prohibition on disclosure of information relating to a holder of a GRC, the requirement (or not) to alter public registers and clarification of those agencies exempt from the prohibition on the disclosure of information.

Jersey recognises that it does not have the required healthcare professionals who can make decisions based on appropriate evidence to grant an inidividual a GRC. The island, therefore, looks to bigger jurisdictions to undertake this process for its trans* citizens. Having obtained a GRC from a jurisdiction approved by Jersey, a GRC will then be granted by the Royal Court. Most islanders will, therefore, apply to the UK for a GRC, which can then be presented in Jersey’s Royal Court.

The UK’s Gender Recogntion Act 2004 covers the issuance of GRCs. The granting of a GRC is decided by The Gender Recognition Panel, a branch of HM Courts & Tribunal Service. It is formed from an administrative team and a judicial panel, made up of legal and medical members. The panel needs to be satisfied that the applicant has lived in their correct gender throughout the period of 2 years prior to the date of the application and intends to continue doing so until death. It is a matter for the panel to decide whether the medical evidence satisfies that test. The charity GIRES provides guidelines for applying for a GRC here.

It is to be noted that the LGBT Consortium in the UK have recently published a consultation paper stating that the Gender Recognition Act is no longer fit for purpose and requires reviewing.

Advantages of obtaining a GRC:

  • All legal documents, including your birth certificate, can be changed to your correct gender. Note: the States of Jersey will issue driving licences and passports in your correct gender without the requirement of a GRC.
  • A GRC prohibits those privileged with the information that a person is trans* from disclosing it to others. There are, however, quite a number of exceptions to this prohibition.

Disadvantages of obtaining a GRC:

  • If you are married or in a civil partnership, you will need to dissolve or annul the union before a full GRC can be obtained from the Royal Court. Note: this is not a requirement for marriages in the UK since the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.

New sex discrimination law

The States of Jersey launched a consultation on the next phase of discrimination legislation due to become law in September 2015. It includes gender reassignment discrimination.

This will be the second piece of legislation to directly concern trans* islanders. We therefore want hear your views in order to formulate a response to the consultation.

Please our consultation page to find out more about how you can get involved before 30 May 2014.

States of Jersey consultation on sex discrimination

The States of Jersey are currently asking for comments from the public on the next phase of the island’s discrimination legislation, so called sex discrimination. They have published a consultation paper, which can be downloaded here.

The next phase of the legislation is due to be debated later this year with a view to it becoming law in September 2015. The consultation process closes on 30 May 2014 and responses will be published on 29 August 2014.

The consultation paper outlines the main areas for debate:

  • Sex
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership

Trans* Jersey is most interested in the States’ proposals for gender reassignment. We have therefore requested involvement in any forum convened by the States to discuss the proposed legislation.

We are concerned by a number of aspects of the States’ consultation document:

1. The adoption of the UK Equality Act as the model on which to base Jersey’s legislation. This Act has been in place for 4 years in the UK and campaign groups have highlighted a number of problems with it. The LGBT Consortium have called for a review of it and the Gender Recognition Act.

2. The language used in the document’s section on gender reassignment especially when talking about a person “completing” their transition.

3. The suggestion within the consultation that an exception should be made to permit discrimination against trans* people to occur in the case of “the provision of communal changing facilities or shared accommodation”.

4. The confusion of the term “sex” with “gender” throughout. Man/woman refers to a person’s gender. Male/female refers to person’s sex.

5. The assumption that there are only two sexes or genders.

statesGet involved

Whilst Trans* Jersey encourages you to complete the online survey, we would also like to receive your comments about the States’ proposal regarding gender reassignment discrimination.

We believe that by speaking together as a group of trans* islanders our comments on the consultation will carry more weight.

We therefore invite you to email us with your comments, suggestions, thoughts or concerns at

Please let us know whether you would be interested in being involved in any face-to-face discussions with the States as part of a Trans* Jersey group.

FtM surgery

All surgery is optional. You should not feel that you have to have surgery to validate your transition from F to M. You should have surgery because you want to have surgery and for no other reason.

Top surgery
This refers to a double mastectomy to remove the female breasts and plastic surgery to build a male chest. The two phases of the operation are done in one procedure under general anaesthetic. Hudson’s Guide has a great section on chest surgery methods and their advantages and disadvantages.

When considering top surgery, manage your expectations. You will have scarring, whichever method you choose, you may need revisions post-surgery, and your final chest is unlikely to look like a natural male chest close up. However, with gym work to improve the tone of your pecs, most post-op transmen would pass on the beach at St Ouen’s.

There are no surgeons available on the island to undertake this procedure so you will need to go to the UK or abroad if you want chest surgery. If you are being treated through the NHS, you will be offered a list of approved surgeons to choose from. If you wish to go privately, you can choose from surgeons in private practice all over the world. However, you will need to research the best person for your needs and your budget.

Do your research. Look at the numerous YouTube videos uploaded by transmen showing pre and post-surgery photos. Compare the pre-op photos with your own body shape. It is no good admiring the chest of a transman who started off as a B cup if you are a D cup! If the post-op results look good to you, send a comment to the transman who posted the video asking who his surgeon was. Most transmen are happy (and flattered) to share this information.

surgeryBottom surgery
This comes in two parts.

Hysterectomy and oophorectomy
This refers to the removal of the uterus and ovaries respectively. After taking testosterone for a while, some transmen may find that they have to have one or both of these procedures for medical reasons. Hudson’s Guide explains the reasons for this surgery and the surgical options available.

Jersey has the necessary surgeons capable of performing a this surgery through the health service. If you have island health insurance, you may also find that this is the only part of your transition it will cover, especially if you have to have the operation for medical reasons, such as the development of cysts. However, you may wish to go privately in order to choose the surgical method used by your surgeon.

Genital reconstruction surgery (GRS)
The surgery to contruct a penis and testes is the surgery that majority of transmen elect to do without. The results still ask transmen to trade-off sexual function and visual appearance, there can be complications, it is by far the most costly and time-consuming of trans surgeries, and can involve numerous surgical procedures. Details of the various options currently available to transmen can be found on Hudson’s Guide or can be downloaded here (warning: this download contains graphic photographs of operation progress and results).

You will not be surprised to learn that there are no surgeons with the required skills to perform GRS in the island. You are therefore looking at travel costs again and, because of the complexity of the surgery, several trips to the UK or abroad may be needed.

The same advice applies to GRS as for top surgery: manage your expectations and do your research thoroughly.

FtM change of name

The order in which you sort out your documents is important as you do not want to be left without photographic ID or in the position of having conflicting IDs. The order we deal with the documents below is the order in which we would suggest that you arrange to have them changed.

Deed Poll
Once you have decided on your new name, you can either visit an advocate or the Samedi Section of the Judicial Greffe. Ask them to prepare a deed poll changing your name. They may ask you for the usual photographic ID and proof of address. They may also ask you for your birth certificate or, if you have changed your name before, your marriage certificate or previous deed poll.

They will then prepare the deed poll, which does not specify your gender. It will say something similar to: “Know all men by these present (which are intended to be enrolled in the Rolls of the Royal Court of Jersey) that I, the undersigned XXX, a British subject, having been born in XXX, on XXX, and being ordinarily resident in the Island of Jersey at XXX, do hereby absolutely renounce and abandon the use of the said forenames of XXX and in lieu thereof adopt the forenames of XXX.

“For the purposes of evidencing such a change of name, I hereby declare that at all times hereafter in all records, deeds, documents and other writings and in all actions, suits and proceedings as well as in all devises and transactions, matters and things whatsoever and upon all occasions, I, the said XXX shall use and subscribe the said forenames of XXX, in lieu of the said forenames of XXX and I hereby authorise and request all persons whomsoever at all times to designate, describe and address me by such adopted forenames of XXX in lieu of the said forenames of XXX.”

The deed poll is then signed by you with your old and new signature and witnessed by your advocate or someone at the Greffe. At the next available sitting, the deed will be registered by your advocate with the Royal Court. You are not required to attend court.

Once your deed poll has been registered, you will be given an original copy of it. You must keep this document safe, just as you would a birth certificate. Because it is not a good idea to let anyone have the original of your deed poll, ask your advocate/the Greffe if they will provide you with certified copies of it. You will need at least 5 copies to give to various authorities.

documentsSocial Security
The easiest way to alter your record at social security is to visit the department in La Motte Street with a copy of your deed poll and your current social security card. This may mean asking your employer for your current card (if you are still on the old style card that had to be held by your employer). The new registration cards do not have to be held by your employer – employers take a copy and you keep the card. The social security helpdesk staff will change your record while you wait and provide you with a new registration card and health card. You will then need to show this to your employer for their records.

Income Tax
Writing to the Income Tax Department is the best way to ensure that your name is changed on their records. Make sure that you include your tax ref somewhere in the letter. Enclose one of the copies of your deed poll, ask the department to change your name on all their records and ask them to send you a replacement ITIS effective rate notice in your new name. It should take about 1 week and you will then need to give this to your employer for their records.

Driving Licence
Your parish hall will issue a new driving licence in your new name. You will need to complete the application form, provide one of your deed poll copies, provide two passport photos and surrender your old licence. The application form asks for your sex but this information does not appear on the face of the driving licence as your title or your sex. It appears to be used internally for the parish to be able to address letters to you so select M and your correspondence will come addressed to Mr.

It will take about 2 weeks for you to get your new driving licence during which time you cannot do anything further about your change of name. You need to wait until you get your driving licence back before doing the next document change.

Now you have photo ID and correspondence from the income tax dept, you can set about changing your details with your bank, your credit card providers, the utility companies, your insurers, etc. Some of these may want to also see your deed poll.

The Customs and Immigration Department will issue a new passport in your new name. You will need to complete the application form, provide one of your deed poll copies, provide two passport photos, a letter from your GP or gender therapist and surrender your old passport. The application form asks for your title but not your sex, strangely, as your sex does appear on the face of your passport. Make it clear that your title is now Mr. For those who are Dr or Rev, you may
need to write a covering letter of explanation.

It will take about 6 weeks for you to get your new passport during which time you will not be able to travel abroad so make sure that you time your application carefully.

FtM Finance

Even if you take the publicly funded healthcare route to manage your transition, the costs are higher for trans* islanders than for trans* individuals in the UK because we have to travel to see the specialists who can assist us to transition.

For those transmen with island medical insurance policies, you will find that they specifically do not cover any treatment relating to gender reassignment.

Below are some of the costs that you will need to fund whichever transition route you follow:

Flights to the UK for consultations with your therapist. You will need to budget for more than one visit. Depending on how your therapy goes, you could be visiting regularly for a while. The cheapest flights from Jersey to the UK are on the Gatwick route so take this into consideration when you and your GP select your therapist. Your appointment should only be an hour so you should be able to get over and back in the day. Also, remember to budget for the Gatwick Express into London and transport in London.

GP visits
You will need to visit your GP more regularly than usual to keep them updated on progress, to ask for referrals, to have bloods taken to check your hormone levels and to ask their advice on a range of issues. Budget for about one every two months during your first two years of transition.

Change of name
The costs given below are approximate. They may change.

Deed poll prepared by Jersey advocate and sworn in Royal Court: £435
New driving licence: £40
New passport: £75
Passport photographs: £5

See the change of name page for more details.

Devices for passing
Some transmen like to use packers and binders to assist them in passing. Packers start at about £12 and can go up as high as £500 for realistic peeing and playing packers. Chest binders are around £35-£50. For more information about suppliers see the help page.

financeBelow are some of the costs that are optional depending on how you manage your transition. You may elect to go completely private, completely public through the States and NHS systems, or do a mixture of private and public:

Gender therapy
For those who wish to see a gender therapist privately in the UK, an hour’s consultation will cost about £200.

Hormone therapy
For those who wish to see an endocrinologist privately in Jersey, an hour’s consultation will cost about £280.

Top surgery: costs vary depending on the type of chest surgery being undertaken. There are two methods commonly used. However, you can expect to pay between £5,000 and £10,000.

Bottom surgery: Hysterectomy: £7,500-£12,500. Costs vary depending on the type of penile construction surgery being undertaken. Metoidioplasty: £10,000-£15,000. Phalloplasty: this is complex requiring numerous procedures so you are looking at anything from £25,000 upwards.

If you go abroad for surgery, don’t forget to add in the travel, accommodation and food costs. For chest surgery, for example, you won’t be able to fly for a least a week afterwards which means a hotel bill.

See the surgery page for more details on FtM surgery.

The truth is transitioning costs the trans* individual and, because it is still seen as a choice rather than a necessity, especially by insurers, there is little financial help available.

Try to put away £100 of your salary every month into a transition fund or hold a ‘transition fund’ event where friends and family show their support by donating as much or as little as they want without embarrassment.

Don’t fund your transition through credit cards or pay-day loans. These are the worst ways to borrow money as the interest rates are so high. If you need to borrow, talk to your bank about a loan. Trans* Jersey has contacted NatWest bank in Jersey and they have confirmed that they would do a personal loan for treatment or surgery and that anyone who approached them would be treated sensitively and with discretion. Criteria for the loan would be the standard requirements, ie. any person wanting a loan will need to bank with NatWest for 6 months, have a regular income mandated to the account and be able to afford the loan. Anyone seeking this sort of facility can contact Tanya Nerac, Assistant Relationship Manager, in the first instance who is one of our trans* allies.

FtM timeline

For those who are still questioning their gender, take some time to read this site, to surf the Internet and watch video clips uploaded by transmen, to read some of the excellent personal accounts of transitioning available as books from Amazon, and to feel comfortable with the idea that you are trans*. This is an important step and not one that should be hurried. It can take years to reach a point of ease with who you are.

However, it is worth reaching that point before you more forward with your transition, especially in Jersey. We all know how quickly news travels in small communities, more so than in a big city. You are unlikely to be able to keep your transition a secret in the island. You need to be prepared to ‘out’ yourself to all sorts of people in order to get their help and you can only do that if you are proud and confident about who you are.

Having reached a place where you know that you are transgender, your first point of contact is your doctor/GP in Jersey. Explain to them that you are unhappy with the gender assigned to you at birth and that you would like to start the process of transitioning. Ask your GP to write a letter of referral to a gender therapist (if going the privately funded route) or to a psychiatrist within the health services in Jersey (if going the publicly funded route).

There are no gender therapists in Jersey so you will have to go to the UK for counselling. Your GP can either refer you privately to a gender clinic of your choice or your Jersey psychiatrist can refer you through the NHS to the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic. The advantages of going private are that you control the timetable and can get things moving as quickly as you need to. The disadvantage is that you pay for private consultations (see the finance page). The NHS route is free but you are stuck with their timescale.

Remember that your therapist is not there to ‘judge’ you. They are there to help you make sure that transitioning is what you want to do. Therapy is a time for you to ask questions about transitioning, to be honest with yourself and answer the therapist’s questions as openly as you can, to think about alternatives to transitioning and to understand why they are not an option for you, and to double-check your feelings with an impartial and skilled observer.

Depending on how you and your therapist feel about your readiness to transition, the next step is either to change your name by deed poll to the name by which you want to be known going forward or to commence hormone therapy.

For more information about changing your name and all your documents, see the change of name page.

timelineJersey has the necessary skills on the island to administer your hormone therapy, which will be a lifelong commitment to taking testosterone. Your therapist will need to provide a letter to your GP or psychiatrist recommending that you commence hormone therapy, the appropriate delivery method of the testosterone and the dose that you require. Your GP or psychiatrist can then refer you to the island’s endocrinologist. This can be done privately, for which you will pay, or you can be referred through the States system, which is free.

For more information about hormone therapy, see the hormones page.

This may be as far as you wish to go in your transition. You may consider the changes made by the hormone therapy sufficient to allow you to pass as a man. However, you may elect to undergo one or more surgical procedures to further masculinise your body. If so, you will need to leave the island again for your operation(s). Jersey has no surgeons who can perform this specialist surgery. You will need to decide whether you wish to pay for surgery privately or whether you are prepared to wait for surgery in the UK through the NHS.

If you elect to have surgery through the NHS, you need to ask your NHS therapist to place you on the NHS waiting list.

If you elect to have private surgery there are two advantages: you can choose your surgeon, so you can choose to see anyone in the world who takes private patients, and the timing of your surgery is your choice. You should research your surgeon carefully, taking time to read testimonials from transmen who have had surgery with them. If you are unsure about your choice, ask your GP for their opinion.

Once you have selected your surgeon, contact them directly. You do not need to go back to your GP for a referral. However, the surgeon will undoubtedly want a letter from your therapist or GP referring you after you have made the initial contact.

For more information about surgery, see the surgery page.

Finally, take ownership of your transition. If you are not getting the answers you require from your health professional, keep asking until you do. Research as much as you can and prepare the questions you want answered before every consultation. Your Jersey GP may never have taken a patient through a transition process so you may need to guide them on what they need to do next for you.

Helping trans* teens become who they want to be

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren’t comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need.

The importance of support for trans* people

In this 5 minute video from the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, Walter Bockting, PhD, discusses findings from his latest paper, a national online study of transgender individuals’ mental health and the factors that lower psychological distress. The study, which provides the first empirical evidence that identity pride, family support and peer support can protect against anxiety and depression in the transgender population, was published in the American Journal of Public Health.