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.
Equality campaigners said it showed a “shocking failure of leadership”.
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.