What is the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill?
The Scottish Government has introduced the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament. The bill seeks to remove the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to reduce the requirement to have ‘lived in the acquired gender’ for two years to three months, with a three month ‘reflection period’ after a Gender Recognition Certificate has been granted (GRC). This is what’s known as a self-declaration model of legal sex change, often termed ‘self-identification’ or ‘self-ID’. The bill also seeks to reduce the age at which someone can apply for a GRC from 18 to 16 years old.
What are the issues with a self-declaration model?
WPUK’s concerns about a self-declaration model of legal sex change are well documented. You can read more about our concerns in our previous submissions to both government and parliamentary consultations:
• 2017 Scottish Government consultation on GRA reform
• 2018 UK Government consultation on GRA reform
• 2019 Scottish Government consultation on its Gender Recognition Reform Bill
• 2020 UK Parliament Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into GRA reform
Do I have to live in Scotland to submit evidence to the Scottish Parliament committee?
No. Anyone can submit evidence.
Are these proposals relevant to UK citizens living outside Scotland?
Yes. There are many unanswered questions about the potential cross-border effects of changing the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in Scotland. These relate to (1) who will be eligible to change their sex in law using the Scottish system and (2) the legal effects of changing your sex in law in Scotland elsewhere in the UK. For more information on the cross-border effects of these proposals, we recommend this blog by policy analysts MurrayBlackburnMackenzie.
How can I submit evidence?
All evidence must be submitted via the Scottish Parliament’s online platform. There are two forms of response: a short survey or a more detailed response.
For those based in Scotland. For Women Scotland have published advice and guidance both on how to respond to the committee and how to contact MSPs to share your concerns. MurrayBlackburnMackenzie have also produced guidance on submitting evidence to the consultation.
For those in the rest of the UK. We suggest completing the short survey, highlighting the unanswered questions about cross-border effects in the free text box at the end of the survey.
You should use your own words but here is an example of some of the issues that you might wish to cover.
Is there any other way I can raise my concerns?
We also encourage you to write to your MP setting out your concerns about the legislation and what it means for those in the rest of the UK.
We believe that it is important to share a range of viewpoints on women’s rights and advancement from different perspectives. WPUK does not necessarily agree or endorse all the views that we share.