Colin Macfarlane, Director, Stonewall Scotland said:

‘We are pleased to see the Scottish Government’s commitment to introducing a system of self-determination to our country’s gender recognition laws. The proposals outline the Government’s intention to replace the current outdated, intrusive and medicalised process in favour of one that ensures trans people are respected. When delivered, the new system will demonstrate that the Scottish Government recognises trans people for who they are, marking an important step towards trans equality.’

‘It’s important the second round of public consultation doesn’t delay legislative progress and instead focuses on making the system of self-determination work effectively for trans communities in Scotland. The Scottish Government has already done a full comprehensive public consultation on the principles of reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) that ended in March 2018. The original consultation received over 15,000 responses with nearly two-thirds of Scottish people (65 per cent) supporting a system of self-determination. This shows clear public support for reform and bringing Scotland’s gender recognition laws in line with international best practice.

‘While it’s great the Scottish Government plans to simplify the process of getting a Gender Recognition Certificate, it is disappointing to see that recognition for under 18s is not included in this bill. For a government that has prided itself on empowering 16- and 17-year-olds to exercise their judgment in areas like voting, it’s a shame they have not removed restrictions imposed on trans young people.

‘In addition, we welcome the Scottish Government’s move to create a working group to address non-legislative ways of recognising non-binary identities. However, this needs to be backed up by a commitment to review the need for legal gender recognition. For non-binary people, not having any legal recognition means they are currently forced to identify as something they are not and this needs to change.

‘It’s absolutely vital the Scottish Government makes an explicit commitment to uphold their 2016 election manifesto to pass legislation before the 2021 election. Any further delay will allow more fear and misinformation to spread and that will profoundly impact on trans people’s quality of life in Scotland. Trans people have suffered for far too long from inequalities that can be easily removed.