This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charities welcome passing of gender recognition reform

This news post is 9 months old

The legislation was passed in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday

Charities and campaigners have said the passing of the landmark Gender Recognition Reform Bill continues Scotland’s progress to becoming an inclusive country that recognises its people in all their diversity.

The legislation, which was voted through in Holyrood by 86 votes to 39, follows widespread backing from political parties and consultation in recent years. 

All the parties in the Scottish Parliament except the Conservatives committed to improve gender recognition law in their 2016 and 2021 Holyrood manifestos. 

The Scottish Government consulted publicly on the proposals in 2017, then published the bill and consulted again in 2019.

The Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee consulted again in the spring and summer of this year, and heard oral evidence on the bill from 39 witnesses. 

Following three sessions of amendments at Holyrood, which saw MSPs voting until after midnight, the final vote on the bill took place on Thursday. 

The bill amends the Gender Recognition Act 2004, which 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.

The bill makes important changes to the law that significantly improve the current process that trans people in Scotland must use to update their birth certificate. 

This includes 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 - or six months for 16 and 17 year olds.

Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, said: “We thank MSPs, from all parties, who supported this bill, and those who engaged constructively on amendments. 

“This result follows others where the Scottish Parliament has carefully considered the evidence and then legislated for fairness and equality. The repeal of section 28 in 2000, and equal marriage in 2014, were passed by the Parliament with some fears and misunderstandings expressed at the time about the consequences.

“It quickly became clear in both cases that the negative consequences that some had predicted did not materialise, and now a very large majority support those changes. We are sure that the same will happen with this legislation.”

Equalities organisations in Scotland said that there will be a feeling of relief that the bill has now passed.

Vic Valentine, manager of Scottish Trans, said: “Trans people across Scotland today will be feeling pleased and relieved that this Bill has passed, after many years of difficult public debate that has often felt like people are talking about us, and not to us. 

“The law that has passed today will mean that at important moments in their lives, like when starting a job or giving notice to be married, trans men and women will be able to show a birth certificate that reflects who they are. 

“We all want to be able to live true to ourselves, and by voting for these simple but important changes to the existing process for trans people to be legally recognised, MSPs will improve trans men and women’s lives, by allowing them to live with the dignity and recognition that everyone deserves.”



Be the first to comment.