Scotland Passes Gender Recognition Reform Bill Making It Easier To Alter Gender
Parliament in Scotland passes Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which would make it simpler for those over the age of 16 to legally to alter their gender. With the passing of the contentious measure, a gender dysphoria diagnosis is no longer necessary to receive the certificate.
Legislators in Scotland have approved the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which would make it simpler for those over the age of 16 to legally transition. With the passing of the contentious measure, a gender dysphoria diagnosis is no longer necessary to receive the certificate.
Self-identification legislation have been enacted in other nations including Ireland, Denmark, and Argentina to make gender transitioning easier and less intrusive.
Some women's rights activists opposed the measure, which had the support of the governing Scottish National Party (SNP) and the other parties in the parliament with the exception of the Conservatives.
On Thursday, during a specially extended session, MSPs voted to pass the bill that had been proposed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon six years prior. This came after two of the largest public consultations in Scottish parliament historyand amid an increasingly toxic and polarized political discourse.
Minutes before the final vote, demonstrators in the public gallery interrupted the discussion with chants of "shame on you" and "this is the darkest day," a sign of the rising tensions over the revisions.
The final decision came after two days of extraordinary discussion, during which members worked cross-party and until midnight on more than 150 amendments to address concerns about abusive individuals taking advantage of the new system and its effect on UK equality legislation.
Significant modifications to the process for acquiring a gender recognition certificate have been made under the new legislation (GRC).
A psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria and a summary of any medications or surgical proceduresused to modify sexual characteristics are now required with an application to a UK gender recognition panel. Prospective GRC members are expected to have established themselves in their new gender for a minimum of two years prior to applying.
According to the Scottish government, the existing method has a detrimental effect on those seeking for gender recognition. More than that, it warns that the GRC application itself "may be degrading, invasive, unpleasant, and stressful."
Under the new gender recognition statute, applications will be filed to the Registrar General for Scotland rather than the UK panel. Additionally, it removes the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and, for the first time, makes the application procedure available to candidates aged 16 and 17.
A minimum of three months in the acquired gender and six months for individuals under the age of 18 are required to apply under the new self-identification method. The applicant is also given three months to think over their application before a certificate is awarded.
Shona Robison, minister for social justice in Scotland, said that the passing of such legislation elsewhere had helped transgender individuals and led to a "remarkable" reduction in violence against them.
I think we can all hope that trans people in Scotland will also be able to benefit from those positive outcomes as the bill removes barriers to the enjoyment of their human rights.- Shona Robison, Minister for social justice in Scotland
What is Scotland's Gender Reform Bill and What Happens Now?
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claims that many are using the situation to promote transphobia. Sturgeon, who called herself a "lifelong feminist," argues that trans rights do not clash with women's rights and that, as has often been the case in the past, when individuals who are discriminated against act as friends rather than opponents, things may become better for everyone.
A newspaper in Scotland, The Scotsman, reports that Scottish legislators enacted difficult legislation that would make it easy for transgender persons to legally alter their gender, despite the acrimonious discussion that produced a schism within the governing Scottish National Party (SNP).
With the passage of this legislation, transgender persons will have fewer obstacles to overcome while attempting to legally transition. It also removes the need for a doctor's diagnosis of gender dysphoria before applying for the certificate. During the most recent law's passing, the SNP faced the greatest revolt in Scottish Parliament history.
Nine members of the Scottish Parliament voted against the Bill, and two junior spokesmen for the party resigned as a result of going against the whip. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has suggested that the government might challenge the Equal Rights Amendment of 2010.
The primary arguments against the bill are that it might lead to a conflict between women's rights and trans rights, and that abusive males would be able to more easily get access to women-only areas. There seems to be no evidence to back up these assertions.
For instance, in countries where gender self-identification is allowed, there has been no increase in attacks on women and girls in areas traditionally reserved for just one gender.
The law easily passed with the help of the Scottish Greens, Labour, and the Scottish Liberal Democrats despite the worries of some SNP backbenchers. In the first vote, nine SNP MSPs opposed their government, including Ash Regan, who had resigned as minister in protest. Three Tories who were given a free vote backed it, while two Labour members who were whipped to vote in favor of it also rebelled.