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Trans describes people whose gender identity differs from the gender they were assigned at birth. It’s an umbrella term that embraces different identities.


Getting older when trans

Your experience of being trans may be influenced by how old you were when you transitioned, if you took medication as part of your transition and when that was. If you’re in the first generation of older trans people receiving medication, it’s likely you'll have some unique health needs.

It's a good idea to make sure you have a health check at least once a year, and if you sense, see or feel anything unusual about your body, seek prompt medical advice. 

Becoming trans in later life

You might feel like you're too old to transition, or that there’s little point after spending so long living in your assigned gender. But transitioning can make you feel more 'yourself' and bring feelings of relief and self-acceptance at any age, so it's never too late, really. 

Older people can transition and start living in their affirmed gender in just the same way that younger people can. If you’re healthy, receive proper care and choose to receive medical treatments as part of your transition, the treatments involved – including hormone therapy and surgery – carry a low risk.

However, if you're older, it's important to be aware of the limits and potential impact of treatment. If you’d like to know more, speak to your doctor, who might refer you to a Gender Identity Clinic (GIC).

Find out more about getting referred to a Gender Identity Clinic

The Gender Recognition Act

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 means you can apply to be recognised in your affirmed gender. You'll receive a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) and a new birth certificate if you were born in the UK.

Anyone can change their name by deed poll or by a Statutory Declaration.

Find out more about changing your name by deed poll on the GOV.UK website

If you use two names, or if you've only recently begun living in your affirmed gender, it's important to make sure you're clearly identified in your will. Equally, if you're named in someone else’s will by your former name, you'll need your GRC or other paperwork as evidence of your past identity.

Find out about how to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate on the GOV.UK website

Pension and benefits

If you have a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), you're treated as your affirmed gender for all legal purposes. Obtaining a GRC can affect:

  • your National Insurance contributions
  • your tax liability
  • the benefits and State Pension that you or your spouse or civil partner may receive – either now or in the future.

You can contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Gender Recognition Team for more information by calling them on 0191 218 7622 or emailing them at

You might want to seek advice from an independent financial advisor in advance of any legal change of gender.

You can also speak to our Information & Advice team for help you explore your rights, entitlements or access to other benefits. 
Telephone: 0300 345 3446

Housing and residential care

If you're thinking of moving into sheltered housing or a care home, it’s important to do plenty of research and visit the places you're considering. As with care services, consider your privacy needs and what you'll need for your mental and physical health. 

When planning for the future, you could write down clear instructions for what you'd like to happen if you become confused or develop dementia – such as what kind of clothing should be bought for you and how you'd like to be addressed.

You might want to write an advance statement to set out how you'd like to be treated and your likes and dislikes or think about assigning a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)