March 17, 2023
The fight for trans rights in the UK continues
January 24, 2023. Glasgow. Hundreds protest the gender reform bill block.
The Scottish bill aimed to reform gender recognition guidelines got vetoed by the UK government.
On December 22 the Scottish Parliament announced its support of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.
The bill provided such reforms as reducing the minimum age for the Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) application from 18 to 16 years of age, removing the medical diagnosis need and evidence that the person lived for at least two years as their acquired gender. The procedure of changing gender for young people would then become easier and more accessible.
But less than a month later, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, following the concerns expressed by UK ministers, announced the bill´s veto. In his official statement, he said the Bill has complications due to differing gender recognition regimes in the UK which is at risk of “allowing more fraudulent or bad faith applications.”
The Scottish secretary added that the bill goes against the Equality Act (2010), mentioning how the “adverse effects include impacts on the operation of single-sex clubs, associations and schools, and protections such as equal pay.” The Equality Act protects people from being discriminated against because of certain characteristics, which include sex or gender reassignment. But Scottish ministers argued back that it does not have any impact on the Act, creating internal conflicts.
The trans community and their supporters responded to the eventual ban of the bill with protests for trans rights across the country, in cities including London, Leeds, and Aberdeen.
In response to the UK’s intervention, Stonewall, a British charity that supports LGBTQ+ youth throughout the United Kingdom, said: “These are not the actions of a government that can stand on the international stage as a credible defender of LGBTQ+ rights.”
The Welsh government supported the Scottish parliament by unveiling a new LGBTQ+ action plan, which suggests similar reforms as the bill that was vetoed. It aims at banning conversion therapy practices in the UK as well as providing better trans guidance in the Welsh educational system.
Currently, the bill has created social conflict, as well as a political one, which can mean that there are still meetings to be held and words to be said. Additionally, following the resignation of Nichola Sturgeon, the First Prime Minister of Scotland, the continuation of the bill is unclear, with one of the three candidates running to replace her promising to stick with the bill.