Scottish Trans Alliance and Equality Network welcome confirmation that the Scottish Government plans to take forward Gender Recognition Act reform by drafting a bill for a statutory declaration application process.
Becky Kaufmann, Justice Policy Officer at Scottish Trans Alliance, said, “We warmly welcome that the draft bill will remove the offensive and intrusive requirement that trans women and trans men provide psychiatric and medical reports in order to change their birth certificates. It is important because trans women and trans men will no longer have to depend on a tribunal panel of strangers to decide the reality of their own lives.
Such a bill would be short and not complicated to draft, so the Scottish Trans Alliance and Equality Network are calling on the Scottish Government to publish the draft bill swiftly after the summer recess.
James Morton, Scottish Trans Alliance Manager, said “It has already been sixteen months since the initial consultation on Gender Recognition Act reform closed. The delay in publishing a draft bill has been very detrimental to the quality of debate in some parts of the media and on social media. It is vital that the Scottish Government publish the draft bill as soon as possible to enable appropriate scrutiny of the exact details rather than further unhelpful speculation. Long delays between announcements and actions embolden those who are prejudiced against trans people, and create intense distress for many vulnerable trans people.”
Whilst a move to a system of statutory declaration is a great improvement on the current process, the Government’s draft bill would still mean a law that falls some way short of a system of legal recognition that would provide dignity, equality and recognition for all trans people in Scotland.
James Morton, Scottish Trans Alliance Manager, said “We call on the Scottish Government to allow 16 and 17 year olds to change their birth certificates. In Scotland, they are allowed to vote, leave school, get married and have children. They can already change the sex on their passports and education records. It makes no sense to deny them the privacy protection of being able to update their birth certificate.”
In the initial consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act, the Scottish Government invited views about legal gender recognition for non-binary people but did not make any proposal. Two-thirds of respondents supported non-binary gender recognition.
Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans Alliance Policy Officer, said, “The UK and Scottish Governments have always been reluctant to provide full legal recognition for non-binary people, such as myself, who do not identify as men or women. Therefore, we are not surprised that it will most likely be necessary to look to the courts to ensure that non-binary people are fully afforded the same right to have our lived identities recognised as is granted to trans men and trans women. We will continue to strongly make the case for non-binary recognition, and to work with policy makers to improve non-binary people’s equality and inclusion in workplaces, public services and data collection.”