Ofcom have said that a radio amateur can apply for a different call sign if they change gender
Up until the summer of 2015 Ofcom permitted radio amateurs to change their call sign. Amateurs have used this to adopt the call sign of a deceased relative or defunct radio club. This policy was changed suddenly and call sign transfers stopped even those which were in progress.
It now seems there is a welcome degree of flexibility for those amateurs who have changed gender.
In a recent response to a radio amateur Ofcom issued this clarification of their policy:
We assign each amateur radio station a unique identifier - its call sign. This helps us to meet our obligations under the Radio Regulations (the rules on the use of radio agreed by the international community at the ITU) which require stations to be clearly identifiable and which expressly prohibit misleading identities. In order for a station’s identity to remain unique, these call signs may not be changed, other than in truly exceptional circumstances. This might be because a licensee has changed gender or has acquired a physical or mental impairment that prevents him or her from using the original call sign. These cases are, however, rare.
Similarly, we do not allow call signs to be transferred from one station to another. This is because the call sign is a unique identifier that we assign to a station. If a station that already has a call sign inherits the call sign of another station, then the ‘importing’ station must change its identity. This is not something that we allow, for the reasons given above.