Information about support organisations, discrimination, and changing your name and gender.

LGBTQ+ support and resources

  • Visit Keele University's website for support available throught the University.
  • Keele LGBTQ+ Society - A confidential, safe and secure space for Keele LGBTQ+ students and allies.
  • Staffordshire Sexual Health Charity offers free counselling sessions for people who are LGBTQ+. You can self-refer and appointments are available in-person or virtually. Their waiting list is usually under two months.
  • The LGBT Foundation - Provide a multitude of services from talking therapy, STI screenings, befriending schemes, and helplines. They have also produced some guides, including A Guide to Being a Trans Ally, A Guide to Reporting Transphobic Crime. and various sex guides.
  • Student Minds - A student mental health charity that has a guide to LGBTQ+ students and friends.
  • The Proud Trust - The home of LGBTQ+ youth. Support through youth groups, peer support, mentoring programs and the Proud Connections chat service.
  • AKT - Supporting LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment.
  • Rainbow Noir -  A peer support group for Queer People of Colour, with monthly social meet-ups in person and online.
  • Indigo - An NHS trans healthcare service (this is a limited pilot scheme at the moment, but their website contains a lot of helpful information)
  • Trans-Staffordshire - A grassroots organization to bring the Trans community of Staffordshire and Stoke together providing several safe and confidential spaces which will provide opportunities for Trans people to meet.
  • The Equality Advisory Support Service provides free advice about your rights.



  • The LBGT Foundation - Provide support via a helpline and email service.
  • Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline - A safe space to discuss anything, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional well-being. All their volunteers are LGBT+.
  • GALOP - The LGBTQ+ anti-abuse charity that has a helpline available every week day
  • Mermaids UK - A charity for non-binary and gender-diverse young people, with a student service for 18-25 year olds.
  • Mindline Trans+ - A confidential mental health support helpline for people who identify as transgender, agender, gender fluid and non-binary.

Legal rights


Sexual Orientation

The Equality Act 2010 says it is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation.

It’s also unlawful to discriminate against someone because of the sexual orientation of a person they are with or know,  e.g. a parent, child, partner or friend (discrimination by association) or because of a perceived sexual orientation (discrimination by perception).



The Equality Act 2010  says it's unlawful to discriminate against people because of a ‘protected characteristic’, which includes gender reassignment. Gender reassignment doesn't have to be medical - you have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if you:

  • want to reassign your sex from your birth sex to your preferred sex
  • do this by changing physical or other characteristics, such as pronouns or the way you dress.

If you're non-binary, you might still be able to show this protected characteristic applies to you - it will be up to a judge to decide. There was an employment tribunal ruling in 2020 where a judge decided the characteristic did apply to non-binary people; this ruling isn't binding on other courts but could be a good example to use if you ever take legal action. The case is Ms R Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover Ltd and you can read the full employment tribunal decision on - the relevant section is  paragraph 178 of the 'Reasons' document. 


Citizens Advice has an in-depth explanation on their website of what businesses can and can't do.



If you have experienced discrimination, you can talk to the Equality Advisory Support Service for free advice. They have a helpline, a Livechat and an email form you can use, along with template letters and other resources you can access on their website.


The Equality and Human Rights Commission has further guidance on their website.

Changing your name and/or gender on records

Changing your name

You do not have to follow a legal process to start using a new name, but you might need a deed poll so you can apply for or change official documents like a passport or driving licence.


Please note, if you’re a permanent resident overseas, you cannot change your name by deed poll.


You can get an 'unenrolled' deed poll by yourself (also known as a statutory declaration) or you can apply for an 'enrolled' deed poll to put your new name on public record.  An enrolled deed poll will cost £42.44 but is more official and less likely to be rejected by certain organisations.


Telling the University

The Student Experience and Support team can also help if you need to update any of your personal details such as preferred name, title or photo. This information can be updated on your Keele ID and reprinted for you free of charge.


If you're intending to transition you can talk to Student Services to develop an action plan. The action plan will identify an approximate time scale and steps to be taken during the transition. It may address:

  • any time off you may need for medical appointments or procedures, and/or possible side-effects of any medication;
  • any support arrangements and adjustments during the transition; 
  • when and how to inform the academic department and/or students on the programme if appropriate; 
  • any emotional support to be put in place such as counselling or referrals to other relevant agencies.

You can read more about how the University can support you by visiting their website.


Gender Recognition Certificate

You can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate if you want your affirmed  gender to be legally recognised in the UK. You can apply if you are over 18, have been diagnosed in the UK with gender dysphoria (though there are some exceptions), have been living as your affirmed gender for at least two years, and you intend to live in this gender for the rest of your life. You do not need to have had any surgery or treatments.


If you have a Gender Recognition Certificate you can:

  • update your birth or adoption certificate, if it was registered in the UK
  • get married or form a civil partnership in your affirmed gender
  • update your marriage or civil partnership certificate, if it was registered in the UK
  • have your affirmed gender on your death certificate when you die

You do not need a certificate to:

  • update your driving licence
  • update your passport
  • update your medical records, employments records or your bank account

The application costs £5 but there may be additional costs. You can view a full guide to applying on the website.


Changing your gender on your passport

To change the gender marker on your passport you will need to complete an application form and submit a copy of your name change document, a letter from a doctor confirming that your gender change is likely to be permanent, and proof that you are using your new name (such as a utility bill).


Changing your gender on your driving licence

Driving licences contain two gender indicators: your title and the seventh and eighth characters of the licence number (for men these two digits are their birth month, such as '01' for January, and for women the seventh digit is replaced with a 5, so would be '51' for January). You can ask the DVLA to change this by sending  an application form to the DVLA, along with a copy of your name change document. Name changes are free, but there is a small charge to update photographs.  


Changing your gender on your NHS records

You have the right to change your title, name and gender marker on your records. You do not need to have undergone any treatment, or have a Gender Recognition Certificate.


When you change gender with the NHS you are given a new NHS number. You will be registered as a new patient at your GP practice and your old medical record will be copied across, minus any information relating to your previous identity.  Your GP will then inform Primary Care Support England (PCSE) of the change. 


If your medical records are being changed from male to female, PCSE will contact your GP practice to confirm that you do not have a cervix. If your medical records are being changed from female to male, cervical screening becomes the responsibility of your GP practice.

Gender Identity Clinic

The Gender Identity Clinic accepts referrals for adults with issues related to gender. They provide assessments, treatments, support and advice, including:

  • psychological support, such as counselling
  • cross-sex hormone therapy
  • speech and language therapy (voice therapy) to help you sound more typical of your gender identity

Treatment options can include hormone therapy, chest procedures, genital removal/construction, and removal of reproductive organs. The NHS does not normally provide breast implants, facial feminisation surgery, or hair transplants.