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Legally changing gender will cost only £5 from today after the fee was slashed from £140.

But the move to make the process ‘kinder and more straightforward’ was condemned by transgender rights campaigners as a ‘fig leaf’ to avoid having to make swapping gender simpler.

Anyone who wants to switch officially still faces legal requirements, including approval from a doctor and the need to live for two years in the acquired gender. However, Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss said the changes, including being able to apply for a gender recognition certificate online for the first time, removed a key concern for trans campaigners.

Legally changing gender will cost only £5 from today after the fee was slashed from £140 and Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss (pictured) said the changes, including being able to apply for a gender recognition certificate online, removed key concern for trans campaigners

Legally changing gender will cost only £5 from today after the fee was slashed from £140 and Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss (pictured) said the changes, including being able to apply for a gender recognition certificate online, removed key concern for trans campaigners

Legally changing gender will cost only £5 from today after the fee was slashed from £140 and Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss (pictured) said the changes, including being able to apply for a gender recognition certificate online, removed key concern for trans campaigners

She added: ‘We want transgender people to be free to live and to prosper in modern Britain. In the National LGBT Survey, 34 per cent of transgender people told us that the cost of applying for a certificate was holding them back from doing so.

‘We have removed that barrier, and I am proud that we have made the process of getting a certificate fairer, simpler and much more affordable.’ The right to switch gender was introduced by then PM Tony Blair in 2004. However, feminists fear the push for transgender rights sweeps away protection for women in areas from changing rooms to competition in sport.

Miss Truss has said the system should keep ‘proper checks and balances’. But Church of England transgender activist Jayne Ozanne urged reform and said the price cut was a ‘fig leaf to cover the fact that the process is still extremely complex’.

The UK is thought to have up to 500,000 transgender people, and has issued 5,871 gender recognition certificates since 2005.

Church of England transgender activist Jayne Ozanne (pictured) urged reform and said the price cut was a ¿fig leaf to cover the fact that the process is still extremely complex¿

Church of England transgender activist Jayne Ozanne (pictured) urged reform and said the price cut was a ¿fig leaf to cover the fact that the process is still extremely complex¿

Church of England transgender activist Jayne Ozanne (pictured) urged reform and said the price cut was a ‘fig leaf to cover the fact that the process is still extremely complex’

The Government Equalities Office said ‘tentative estimates suggest there are an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 transgender people living in the UK’.

It added: ‘The Government hopes that modernising the process of applying will allow more transgender people to legally change their sex with a GRC should they wish to do so.’

The estimates are based on those given by trans campaigners.

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