Theresa May says 'being trans is not an illness' as she promises reform

The Government will seek to "streamline and de-medicalise" the process of changing gender to reflect that "being trans is not an illness", Theresa May has said.

The prime minister told the Pink News Awards in London that changes will be made to the Gender Recognition Act in order to reflect updated attitudes towards being transgender.

She said: "We are pressing ahead with inclusive relationships and sex education in English schools, making sure that LGBT issues are taught well.

"We're determined to eradicate homophobic and transphobic bullying.

"We have set out plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, streamlining and de-medicalising the process for changing gender, because being trans is not an illness and it shouldn't be treated as such."

Mrs May drew rounds of applause for her announcement, and for the mention of Justine Greening's role as Education Secretary, the first openly gay woman to serve in a UK cabinet.

Mrs May said there is "still a long way to go" in defeating prejudice against LGBT communities, but pledged to push for greater understanding to avoid the "terrible suffering" found in other parts of the world.

She said: "Trans people still face indignities and prejudice - when they deserve understanding and respect.

"And when we look around the world, we see countries where the human rights of LGBT people are denied and terrible suffering is the result."