“The current process is difficult, stressful and expensive, and it reinforces harmful stereotypes about trans people: that who we are is a mental illness, and that our choices about our bodies are not our own to choose to share with others.”

BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY THE GENDER SPECTRUM COLLECTION – ZACKARY DRUCKER

When the Gender Recognition Act was introduced in 2004, it was truly a milestone moment as well as a world-leading piece of legislation. Over the last two decades, many countries around the world have significantly improved their laws. National LGBTQI organisations in Scotland have welcomed the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, published today.

Scottish Trans, Equality Network, LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall Scotland and LGBT Health and Wellbeing all agree that the Bill’s proposed reforms will be greatly beneficial to trans men and women in Scotland.

The bill proposes to make the following key changes:

  • Move to a system whereby a trans person makes a formal legal statutory declaration confirming the sex in which they have been living for at least three months and their intention to continue to do so for the rest of their life. A massive improvement compared to having to wait until two years after they have permanently transitioned to apply.
  • Introduce a three month reflection period before a gender recognition certificate would be issued. This would mean a trans person will have had to live in that sex for over six months before being able to change their birth certificate.
  • Remove the current requirement to provide a psychiatric report containing details such as what toys trans people played with as children, their sexual relationships and more invasive details.
  • Remove the current requirement to provide a medical report describing any hormonal or surgical are planning to or have undergone, or confirming they do not intend to undergo any.
  • Allow 16 and 17 year olds to apply for a gender recognition certificate.

The previously mentioned LGBTQI organisations have called for the debate on the bill to be conducted respectfully and without personal abuse. Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans Alliance Manager, said: “We welcome the proposals in this Bill, that would see a massive improvement in how trans men and trans women in Scotland are able to be legally recognised as who they are. The current process is difficult, stressful and expensive, and it reinforces harmful stereotypes about trans people: that who we are is a mental illness, and that our choices about our bodies are not our own to choose to share with others. While the proposals fall far short of a law that would enable all trans people in Scotland to be legally recognised as who we are, this important step forward is one that we hope that all MSPs across the Chamber can support.”

You can find the bill here.

Scottish Trans has helpful information for trans people and trans allies to email their MSPs to support simplifying the Gender Recognition Act.

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