Ministers have ruled out changes to make it easier for transgender people in England and Wales to have their gender legally recognised. They have rejected calls for people to be able to self-identify their gender and change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis. Ministers said reform of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act was not the “top priority” for trans people. The UK’s equalities watchdog said it was a “missed opportunity”. But women’s rights groups applauded the decision as a “victory for fairness and common sense”. Ministers are pledging action to make it easier for trans people to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate and to improve healthcare services for them. But LGBT groups had urged them to go much further, by making it easier for people to legally transition from their birth sex and to provide greater protection under the law. Currently, the Gender Recognition Act requires trans people to go through a long process in order to change their birth certificates.