The Scottish Government wants to know what you think about their draft Bill to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004. The deadline for responding is 17 March 2020.
Click here to open the consultation form in a new window/tab. You can then look back and forth between this guide and the consultation form while you complete your response.
You don’t need to live in Scotland to take part. Wherever you live in the world, you can tell the Scottish Government you support GRA reform. Below is a simple guide to supporting the draft bill. (If you want more in depth help to do a detailed individual or organisational response you can read our longer guidance by clicking here. Or, you can get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org)
The GRA allows some trans people to change the sex on their birth certificate, providing them with formal legal recognition of who they are. Having a birth certificate with the correct sex on it makes sure trans people’s final bit of paperwork matches their life. It helps trans people marry and get their pension correctly, and it gives them improved privacy. However, the current process is bureaucratic, invasive and humiliating. As a result of these barriers, only one in ten trans people have applied for a gender recognition certificate to change the sex on their birth certificate. We want to improve this, and you can help. Find out more about why the GRA needs reforming.
Remember that GRA reform is only about how trans people are able to update their birth certificates to reflect who they are. These changes do not affect the laws governing how trans people access single-sex spaces, participate in sport, update other identity documents like passports or driving licenses, or interact with services on a day-to-day basis. None of these things are decided by what is on a trans person’s birth certificate.
This web page gives a very brief summary of the Bill proposals and then outlines the five questions that the Scottish Government are asking. For each question we give some ideas on how to respond. You don’t need to answer every question.
Very brief summary of Bill proposals:
The Bill introduces a system of statutory declaration, whereby a trans person makes a formal legal declaration confirming that they are living in their acquired gender and intend to continue to do so for the rest of their life. The current system of Gender Recognition Panels and requirements for medical evidence will be abolished. We support this move to de-medicalise the process. You can show your support for GRA reform by responding to Question 4 of the consultation, which asks for any other comments you have on the Bill.
The Bill outlines that applicants should state in this statutory declaration that they have been living for at least 3 months in their acquired gender. After applying, applicants will need to reflect for a further 3 months before a gender recognition certificate would be issued. We do not support these time delays and will be calling on the Scottish Government to remove these requirements. You can give your views by responding to Questions 1 and 2 of the consultation.
The Bill proposes to reduce the age at which people can apply for a gender recognition certificate from 18 to 16 to allow younger people to benefit from these reforms. We support these proposals to extend access to legal gender recognition to younger people. However, we would like to see a system whereby trans children and young people under 16-years old can receive a gender recognition certificate with aid of parental or guardian support. You can give your views by responding to Question 3 of the consultation.
However, the Bill does not make any provisions to offer legal gender recognition to non-binary people. We will be calling on the Scottish Government to include provisions for non-binary people so that every part of the trans community can benefit from this legislative change. You can give your views by responding to Question 4 of the consultation.
Remember to click here to open the consultation form in a new window/tab. That will let you look back and forth between this guide and the consultation form while you complete your response.
After you’ve responded, please encourage all your friends to also support the draft bill.