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New laws will make it easier for Scots to change gender

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Bold move announced to bring Scotland into line with other forward thinking countries

Plans have been unveiled to make it easier for transgender people to be legally recognised.

Angela Constance, equalities minister, launched a consultation which will bring Scotland into line with other European countries.

Proposals include replacing requirements to provide medical evidence of a change in gender, and getting rid of the requirement to live in an acquired gender for two years before legal recognition. The plans also include reducing the age at which recognition can be obtained to 16.

There are also proposals for the legal recognition of non-binary people – people who do not identify as male or female.

The move has been applauded by LGBT and women’s rights organisations.

James Morton, Scottish Trans Alliance manager, said the current process to change the gender on a trans person’s birth certificate is “humiliating, offensive and expensive”.

He added: “It makes sense for birth certificates to be brought into line with the self-declaration process already used to change all other identity documents when trans people start living in their gender identity.”

Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “This reform is desperately needed as it’s time to move the legislation on from being a long complicated bureaucratic process, which treats being trans as a mental illness.

“We believe a better Gender Recognition Act is a crucial next step in achieving equality for all trans people and will help reduce the discrimination and abuse that is all too prevalent in our society.”