I think I have been treated unfairly at school/work/restaurant because I am trans. What can I do?

Under the law in Northern Ireland, discrimination against an individual on the grounds of gender reassignment is unlawful and no-one is permitted to discriminate against anyone for being trans. This relates to all aspects of your life including employment, education, housing, retail, restaurants, use of facilities and services etc. Although the law is not directly applicable in schools, schools are expected to respect the rights of young trans people not to be treated less favourably than others.

If you feel you have been discriminated against for being trans, speak to a legal advisor confidentially on 08088085678, email ree@childrenslawcentre.org or online at REE Live Chat.

For more information and support if you are trans, non-binary or questioning, contact the Belfast Trans Resource Centre:

Is discrimination ever lawful?

In certain situations, discrimination may be considered to be lawful.

In the workplace, for example, if an employer has in place a provision, criterion, practice or policy that appears to be discriminatory, they may be able to objectively justify it if they can prove that the requirement meets a legitimate business aim and that it is a proportionate means of meeting that aim.

For example, if may not be unlawful to only employ women for a job as a counsellor in a women’s refuge as the employers would be able to argue that their clients are all women who have experienced domestic violence by men, and therefore they would probably only want to talk to another woman about it.

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is more than just unfairness, it is treating an individual less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic such as gender, race, age, etc.

The Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976 states that it is unlawful to discriminate against any individual on account of their sex in the areas of employment, training and related matters, education, provision of goods, and facilities or services.

The Gender Reassignment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 amended the Sex Discrimination Order to make it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of gender reassignment in employment and training and the Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Regulations 2008 introduced protection from direct discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment, in the provision of goods, facilities, services or premises.

If you feel you have been discriminated against, speak to a legal advisor confidentially on 08088085678, email ree@childrenslawcentre.org or online at REE Live Chat.