Trans equality organisation welcomes recommendations from Scottish Parliament committee to reform the Gender Recognition Act

Scottish Trans, the trans equality project of LGBTI equality and human rights charity the Equality Network, has welcomed the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee’s publication today of the Stage One report on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The Committee’s report supports, by a large majority, the general principles of the bill, and also supports the detailed proposals in it.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is the law that allows trans people to update the sex recorded on their birth certificate, to reflect how they live their lives, and provide them with legal recognition of who they are.

Whilst world leading when passed, the law is now widely considered by trans people, LGBT organisations and wider equalities and human rights organisations as imposing a process that is difficult, demeaning, and falls well below international human rights standards.

The Committee’s report sets out the wide-ranging evidence they heard, including from organisations and individuals that support and those that oppose the reforms.

The report supports, by a majority, all of the provisions in the Bill that would most significantly improve the current process that trans people in Scotland must use to update their birth certificate. This includes supporting moving to a process of statutory self-declaration for legal gender recognition, removing the need for a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria and other intrusive medical evidence reports about choices a person has made about their medical transition, reducing the age at which people can apply from 18 to 16 in line with wider Scots law on legal capacity, and reducing the time someone must have been permanently living in their gender before they can apply to update the sex on their birth certificate from two years to three months.

Vic Valentine, Manager of Scottish Trans said:

“It has been almost five years since the previous Scottish Government first consulted on reforming the Gender Recognition Act. We are pleased that, as with every step of the way along this process, after carefully considering the case for improving the way that trans men and women update the sex recorded on their birth certificate the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee agrees with the principles of the Bill and with significantly reforming the law that is currently in place in Scotland. We urge MSPs to now also vote in favour of reforms, and to make a real difference to the lives of trans people in Scotland.”

Tim Hopkins, Director of Equality Network, said:

“We welcome this report and commend it to MSPs in advance of the stage 1 debate on 27th October. The large majority of the Committee support the bill, but unsurprisingly, the two Tories on the Committee oppose it. The bill is supported by four out of five of the parties in the Parliament, and we hope that MSPs will approve it on the 27th.”

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